Police on Friday announced a series of security measures intended to protect women working in Bangalore's high-tech industries after a cab driver hired to take a Hewlett-Packard Co. employee to work raped and murdered her this week. The crime has shocked the city's high-technology and back office industries, which employ 250,000 workers to do everything from writing computer programs to handle calls from American credit card users. Nearly half the workers are women.
Many of those employees work nights so they can take calls during what is the daytime in North America and Europe, making it one of the few industries in India where women work late shifts. That has long raised concerns in India, where the streets of many cities are dangerous for women after dark.
The 24-year-old woman disappeared Tuesday after being picked up for her job at a Hewlett-Packard offshore center on the outskirts of Bangalore. Her body was found Thursday in a suburban field. The driver, Shiv Kumar, was arrested and confessed to killing her, police said. An autopsy performed Friday indicated she was raped before being slain.
In response to the crime, police on Friday asked companies to start providing escorts for female employees from their homes to their workplaces, said Bhupendra Singh Sial, the police chief of Karnataka state, of which Bangalore is the capital. Cab companies contracted to take the workers to and from their jobs were also asked to give photos and work histories for their drivers, he said.
"Many rapists are opportunists and we are trying to see how we can minimize those opportunities," Sial told The Associated Press. "Companies will be instructed that there can be no first pickup and last drop-off of a lady." Bangalore accounts for a third of India's outsourcing export revenues of US$17.2 billion (Ђ14.33 billion). The city's offshore outsourcing industry works round the clock and depends on hundreds of cab companies to transport employees to work, reports the AP. N.U.