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Lady cops to shield women from abuse in crowded places

Popular crowded spots, the most inviting haunts for molesters and gropers, will soon have a layer of protection. 

At least two lady police constables will be deputed at places such as railway stations, bus stops, malls, cinema halls, parks, and places of worship, states a recent directive issued to all city and district police chiefs.

The directives, part of a circular issued by Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal on December 17, are based on a Supreme Court judgment of November 30.

The SC had, in its judgment in a civil matter, given an eight-point agenda to control the incidents of sexual harassment, including deploying plainclothes women police at busy spots.

To implement these in toto, the state police chief has asked his colleagues to collect data on a number of crowded places where lady police constables can be deployed. He has urgently sought proposals on manpower requirement, considering two constables per place per shift, with the provision of leave and day off.

Sex workers and members from the gay community
Make it a woman’s world: Sex workers and members from the gay community hold a silent protest march against crimes against women at Juhu Chowpatty on Thursday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

More measures
The DGP has also asked for patrolling of crowded places and wide publicity to sexual harassment cases. He has asked for meetings with the managements of educational institutes, places of worship, theatres, malls and so on to bring the SC directives to their notice. The managements will be asked to install CCTVs, provide booths for reporting complaints at a prominent spot in their establishments, and display boards with helpline numbers. Hot lines for women will be established in cities and towns that do not currently have them.

Another of the DGP’s orders directs all public vehicle operators to take the vehicle to the nearest police station following a sexual harassment complaint by a commuter.

The government will also give publicise an appeal to the public to report incidents of sexual abuse at public places to police.  

Prescriptions from the home ministry
On Thursday, home minister RR Patil along with his deputy Satej Patil, had a meeting with senior cops at the state DGP headquarters for effective implementation of recent decisions. “Apart from a special women's cell in all police stations, counselling centres will be set up at various places. A drive against black films on windowpanes of vehicles will also be intensified,” said the home minister. “I have asked the police to be more sensitive while handling cases of crime against women and avoid unnecessary questions likely to embarrass the victim.”

The minister said he had directed police brass to sensitise officials on laws related to crime against women and hold regular workshops in this regard.  

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