What are these couples doing in Women's Park?

City’s first park exclusively meant for women between noon and 6 pm opens only around 3.30 pm.
March 21 05.34PM

The first only-women’s park in Ahmedabad, inaugurated on International Women’s Day on March 8, is open to everybody today. Its exclusive status is being robbed by guards who allow entry to cooing couples and boisterous boys without batting an eyelid.

March 21 04.52PM

The park at Nova Village lake and garden area near Rajpath Club was opened with the purpose of providing women with ample space to exercise, meditate and socialise between noon and 6 pm. 

The idea for an exclusive park for women was mooted following the suggestions of Governor Kamla who had also allotted a sum of Rs 5 lakh for its upkeep. However, within a week of its inauguration, readers started calling up at Mirror office to complain that rules were not being adhered to at the park.

A Mirror test drive conducted later revealed the only-women’s park was infact being used by all and sundry. Why, the guards even open the park only around 3.30 pm, nearly three-and-a-half hours late.

Though the board at the park states only women are allowed between noon and 6 pm, the gate was locked at 2.15 pm on Monday

On Monday, our reporter Dhwani Pathak Dave visited the park around 2.15 pm only to find it locked. When she quizzed the guard, he told her the park remained closed from noon to 3.30 pm. When she pointed out to him that the notice board clearly stated the timings, he apologised saying he was illiterate and therefore did not know about it.

Later, two Mirror reporters visited the park together posing as a couple to check whether the securitymen deployed at the entrance would let them in. Suprisingly, there was no security guard to stop them as they walked in. Also, there was not a single woman cop or guard inside the park — as the deputy municipal commissioner had promised during the park’s inauguration — to ask the ‘couple’ to leave.
With no security guard to stop them, entry to women’s park was quite easy for Mirror reporters (in first pic) who strolled around posing as a couple on Monday evening. They realised they were not the only couple there

At 5.30 pm on Monday our ‘couple’ reporters, who had easily gained entry into the park, spotted other couples ensconced in a cozy corner inside the park, sharing some private moments. Two guards approached our reporters, casually asking them what were they doing at a time when only women were allowed entry. When the reporters smiled at them, one of the guards said, “It’s okay. Now that you’ve come, what can we do?”

On Wednesday, the reporters visited the park again at 4.30 pm and took a stroll, covering every nook and corner of the place over the next one-and-a-half hour. A police jeep was stationed right outside the park and there were guards too at the gate. But nobody raised an objection.

The reporters even went and sat right next to the security guard hoping he would notice them and ask them to leave. But they were in for a disappointment. “Please do not sit here. It is about to be 6 pm and corporation officials would be here any moment,” was all he whispered, sounding protective of the ‘couple’. But not once did he ask the reporters to leave.

On Wednesday evening, Mirror reporters covered the length and breadth of the park during the time exclusively meant for women. But nobody raised an objection.  They also saw several families and couples walking in

A woman visitor to the park told Mirror on condition of anonymity, “We only get two hours to spend in this garden. It remains locked most of the time. Once, I had to wait outside till they opened the gate around 4 pm. I still cannot forget the ordeal. It felt disgusting to be surrounded by couples engaging in indecent acts on the benches outside the garden. ”

When the matter was brought to the notice of Bijal Patel, chairperson of AMC’s recreation committee, she denied rules were being flouted at the only-women’s park.
“Before noon and after 6 pm, everybody is allowed in the park. The noon to 6 pm timing has been set aside exclusively for women. One may think the entry gate is shut after noon, but in fact it is not. We are only discouraging men from entering. Women can simply ask the guards to allow them in. I assure them they won’t be stopped.”

The reporters even went and sat right next to the guard hoping he would ask them to leave. But he didn’t. He only warned them against AMC officials and asked them to shift to another location inside the park