On one side we see rising harassment of women in the society with dwindling moral values in men and accusations and questions on women for venturing out late and dress they wear, while on the other side there are good Samaritans like this group led by Sunil Jagani in twin City Hubballi-Dharwad who have come forward to safeguard women when most hesitate to protect women. Even law has time and again failed to provide protection and justice to women.
The group, AutoRaksha Foundation has Sunil Jagani along with his 15 friends. Under AutoRaksha Foundation, they run pink autorickshaws to drop the girls, and women to their doorsteps safely during wee hours. They began this service on September 21, 2021 with a view that many women return home from work late night, and yet there is no guarantee of her safe return. Team AutoRaksha has been an aid to such women, who begin functioning at 10.00 pm and pick and drop such women to their destination free of cost. Another interesting facet of the AutoRaksha Foundation is these auto carry books with an intention to build people’s interest in reading and also to drive away passengers’ boredom during the ride.
Sunil Jagani of the foundation is a Master’s graduate in Social Works from Karnatak University Dharwad, and works in an IT company. His father is in Indian Army while his mother Savitri Jagani is a dancer and the backbone of this foundation. His whole family has dedicated itself to work for the society in their own way.
Under the AutoRaksha Foundation, the autorickshaws are converted into mobile library for children during morning hours. They visit schools and make children read variety of books.
Speaking to News Karnataka Sunil Jagani said, ”Nirbhaya incident is unforgettable for every Indian. On the day she was searching for an auto but she failed to get one which infact was one of the reasons that led to such heinous crime. This haunted me a lot and that’s what prompted me to start AutoRaksha in order to avoid this kind of crime over women as much as possible. Another Nirbhaya kind of incident should not happen in Hubballi-Dharwad or any other part of the country. When I pitched the idea, my friends too joined hands with me. Beginning service with a single auto, initially my friends and I use to drop girls on bike. Now all of us have an auto.
AutoRaksha Foundation also plans to visit the schools and colleges to teach self-defence to girls. Sunil has learnt Judo and another friend of his has learnt Karate. With these skills in them, they plan to teach the girls how to defend themselves.