'Open 24X7 women's helpline in police stations'

India on 14 January 2014
Location : Mangalore | Source : Deccan Herald. Image Source: Deccan Herald

A round table conference organised by the Akhila Bharata Vidhyarthi Parishat (ABVP)  to discuss on ‘the safety of women - healthy society,’ at SDM Law College here on Saturday, passed a resolution with 12-point agenda, mainly demanding the government to open women’s helpline in police stations. The demand for 24X7 helpline was raised in order to help the women in distress who may not be in a condition to approach police station to lodge a complaint after undergoing harassment. 

The agenda was formulated after pooling opinions of women representatives from different fields. The draft resolution to be submitted to the government, also demands for providing counselling to adolescent students in schools to create awareness among girls not to become prey to evil forces, sensitise judiciary and police department in handling women harassment and sexual abuse cases, form advisory body in taluk, city and district level to create awareness among girls students, to mention a few.

Missing girls

Sharing an alarming rate of cases of missing girls in the State, Women’s Commission former chairperson Manjula, said that the Commission had carried out a study in all the 30 districts and prepared a report on missing girls, during the previous government. The study revealed that as many as 550 cases of missing girls were reported in Mysore district in that particular year, while Dakshina Kannada registered 300 such cases and 250 cases were reported in Shimoga. The report observed a growing trend of missing girls cases in coastal and Malnad region, she stated.

“In the report prepared by the Commission post homestay attack in Mangalore, I had mentioned about the dangerous trend of drug mafia in the coastal city. But, the government did not act on the report. There has been administrative failure in handling the harassment, sex abuse and mafia cases in the State,” Manjula said.

Gender sensitivity

Former MP and journalist Thejaswini Ramesh stressed on the need to sensitise judiciary in handling the victims of sexual abuse and harassment. 

Sharing her personal experience when she was manhandled years ago, the former MP said she was butchered more than 100 times after the incident, by way of questioning by the judge at the trial. 

The need of the hour is to sensitise judiciary and the police while tackling such cases, she insisted.

Putting an end to the curiosity of the audience for her participation in the programme organised by a right wing unit, despite she being a leader of the Congress party, Thejaswini said one must forget party differences when it comes to the women’s safety. 

“We should fight non-politically in opposing the instances of moral policing and sexual harassment on women,” she said. Criticising the State government for not yet appointing a chairperson for the Women’s Commission, she said it shows the ‘concern’ of the government towards women. Women police officers should be appointed in strategic places for women’s safety, she urged.

Nagarika Seva Trust Vice President Vidya Nayak demanded the government to appoint special public prosecutors to provide legal aid to women victims.

Another participant Advocate Soorath Kumar suggested that mandatory in-camera proceedings of the trial will ensure fair trial. 

TV journalist Reshma Ullal insisted on appointing expert counsellors in all the schools, to help adolescent students.DH News Service

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