BENGALURU: The city police have now turned their focus on vulnerable sections of society after taking up measures for IT professionals and women in organised sectors in the wake of Hyderabad rape incident.
After Bengaluru city police went out of its way to promote the use of Suraksha app for women in distress and use of emergency number 100, questions are now being asked about what a woman would do if she doesn’t have a mobile to ensure her security.
Women wanted to know who keeps an eye on construction sites where young vulnerable pre-pubescent girls live in open shanties. Questions are raised about how women’s safety is challenged due to the floating labour populace, the unorganised sector, the sale of hooch and cheap liquor in their residential neighbourhoods.
DCP South Dr Rohini Sepat Katoch explained that the police have appointed slum or area officers. Basically, a slum specific programme is being undertaken through probationary officers. “Under these programmes, we are mapping all these areas where vulnerability aspect evidently exists. We will examine if there is any scope for any such development or where more number of miscreant boys are roaming,” she underlined.
The officers also identify vulnerable sections who sleep on roads and the presence of small children whose parents leave them behind for work. These area officers will be connected with beat police constables.
Though the beat constables cannot do much, they can instil confidence by educating them regarding child helpline and general emergency number.
“We have also taken up slum specific awareness programmes and we are mapping these areas especially those areas where our priority should be high and where we are unable to reach,” she explained.
For the underprivileged, the security threat mostly comes from known persons. For users of Suraksha App and emergency number 100, the threat comes from unknown persons. The accused will be in their surroundings for labourers. They are residing in high-risk neighbourhoods where basically, the concentration of these types of people is more. So, obviously they need our help, says Dr Rohini. “This work gives us a lot of satisfaction. At least if we could do something and it is worth it,” she underlines.
Ms Vimala K.S., the Vice President of Janawadi Women’s Association explained that the government and police department’s immediate measures might bring some solace to women. However, large sections of women are still vulnerable in society. Only, long-term plans and measures can ensure safety of women, she underlines.
The builders in construction sites who use labourers should be held responsible for the safety of women and young girls. The builders of apartments and commercial complexes should be made to take up the responsibility, she argues. Verma Commission, which was constituted in 2013 after the Nirbhaya incident, had submitted a report on the safety of women. The recommendations have not been implemented in letter and spirit even seven years after the incident occurred, she points out.
The commission had recommended gender sensitisation for judiciary also. As a government, they should give a strong message that not only a woman but a Dalit, backwards cannot be taken for granted, Vimala explained.
The government is planning to spend a large amount on the installation of CCTV cameras under the Nirbhaya funds. However, this process will not ensure safety.
Even encounters won’t guarantee safety as more horror stories of rape are coming out even after the encounter. There should be long and medium-term plans and measures to ensure safety, says Vimala.
Isha Pant, DCP South East maintained that the builders and contractors should come out and provide information on the labourers residing in the construction sites. The family lives inside and the police won’t know about it.
“We will increase beats and patrolling in construction sites and vulnerable areas. Most of the labourers will have a phone and they can dial 100. Three Hoysalas are attached to every police station. Apart from this, we are carrying out awareness programmes for everyone,” she explained. Vimala K.S pointed out that most women in organised sectors who are victims don’t come forward. However, in unorganised sectors the plight of women is unthinkable....