Vijayawada: The award of death penalty to a man for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Chittoor district on Monday has come as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s Disha initiative which focuses on delivering speedy justice as part of ensuring overall safety of women and children.
The Chittoor case was one of the 28 cases of rape, murder or child abuse booked after the Andhra Pradesh Legislature passed the Disha Bill on December 13. The police conducted investigation into the incident, arrested the accused and filed chargesheet in seven days in the Chittoor case. In two of the cases, the victims were murdered.
“Leaving sceptics aside on whether the Disha Act would really see the light of the day, our experience in the last two months has instilled confidence that speedy justice is possible,” Director General of Police Gautam Sawang told Deccan Chronicles.
Though the Bill for speedy justice was named after Disha, a veterinary doctor who was raped and murdered by four lorry workers in Hyderabad, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy was considering a tough law to prevent atrocities against women and children even before that incident.
“There were a spate of child abuse cases a few days before Disha incident and the Chief Minister was very upset. He discussed at length at one or two Cabinet meetings on how to instil the fear of punishment among people so as to prevent such incidents,” said home minister M. Sucharita.
Sources close to the Chief Minister said Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy, the father of two girls, had turned very emotional when he came to know of the Disha incident. “The victim can be anybody,” he lamented during his speech in the Assembly and announced his strong resolve to strengthen the policing, investigation and the subsequent judicial process.
As a first step after the Disha Bill, the Chief Minister got about Rs 100 crore released to realise the objectives of which nearly Rs 30 crore would be spent on improving forensic facilities. In addition to the existing facility in Vijayawada, the government has decided to set up one facility each in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati. These forensic labs with DNA testing facility will become operational within a month.
Besides planning 18 Disha police stations and posting adequate personnel, the Chief Minister also announced a 30 per cent additional pay to the personnel posted in Disha police stations. Two special officers were appointed and a unique app which sends the distress message just by shaking the phone thrice was also launched.
According to the home minister, it was identified that no specific punishment was available for cyber harassment of women and girl children in the existing Acts and the accused were let off with a warning. “We proposed two years imprisonment for the first offence and four years in case of repeated offence in such cases,” Ms Sucharita pointed out....