Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel – the authorities have taken note of the increasing levels of violence against women, and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba made some announcements yesterday regarding a detailed ‘safe-city’ plan for women, which will soon be undertaken in eight metropolises. These include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
As per Delhi Police and National Crime Records Bureau, the number of rape cases alone in India mounted to over 35,000 in number, with around 376 cases solely in Delhi. The issues which have come up for discussion include reservation for women in police forces, installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of women in police stations, emergency response system, police verified public transport, prevention of cybercrime, infrastructure issues, mapping of dark spots and crime-prone areas, among others. Various existing steps towards women safety were also discussed, including the ‘Himmat’ app’ of Delhi Police; ‘Hawkeye’ mobile app and ‘Bharosa’ programme of Hyderabad Police; ‘Suraksha’ app of Bengaluru Police and Power Angels of UP police.
The plan of action will be constructed by the police and municipal corporations of the eight cities and forwarded by the subsequent state-level committee headed by the chief secretary of the state. The plan of action is to be submitted by these cities within a month and will be assessed by the Steering Committee headed by the Union Home Secretary, which will make suitable recommendations.
Our Safe Cities project in association with Hans Seidel Foundation began in 2016, with an aim to inculcate gender sensitivity among police officials, and ensure safer spaces for women across the country. Earlier this year, we undertook training needs assessment of the police officials, who form part of the active work force, in the Union Territories of Puducherry, Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, and Karnataka. Post the assessment, a two day training of trainers was undertaken with the participation of over 40 police officials. The primary aim of the training was to not only sensitize the police officials on gender based crimes, law and order; but also to bring together all the stakeholders for interactive brain storming sessions leading to action of making public place safer and smarter for all citizens – especially women.
Next week, we will be organizing a consultation, of which the primary agenda would be to arrive at an idea bank that would lead to fine-tuning the program intervention for further course of action. On the topic of public place safety and the role of law enforcement agencies; we seek to generate a holistic understanding of key areas of improvement that would lead us to have a better understanding of the challenges.
We are thrilled that there has been concrete delineation of making public spaces safer- if implemented effectively, these measures would be instrumental in drastic reduction of crimes against women.