Women first, say city cops

Ahmedabad police to go into overdrive to curb crimes against women; Rs 220-cr Nirbhaya Project soon.

Ahmedabad: The shocking rape and murder of a veterinary woman doctor in Hyderabad with back to back rape cases in leading cities of Gujarat have spurred the Gujarat Government into action and is accelerating efforts to prevent crimes against women.

With increasing incidents of eve teasing, harassment, torture and rape of women in public places and the workplace have left the government machinery under-equipped to handle them. This realization prompted the central government to launch the Nirbhaya Project in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkatta and earmarked a whopping Rs 220 crore for Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia told First India, “There are several government programmes for women’s safety, security and awareness. We want to make them more effective and relevant by quickly implementing them.” There are many squads and units in the police department for women’s safety and security, which need to be activated and operated properly.

Bhatia said under this project, “We are making the ‘She’ teams at the local police station in the city more intensive and quicker. Simultaneously, we are restructuring the 181 ‘Abhyam’ women helpline, which work for women’s safety.”

Bhatia, who was made full-time Ahmedabad Police Commissioner last week, is also organizing a special CCTV surveillance in the public places to identify the places where women are more vulnerable to harassment. All these will be carried out jointly by the city police and special teams working on women.

CCTV surveillance at crime hotspots

It is common knowledge that incidents like molestation and chain snatching occur frequently at public spaces. “We have identified as many as 90 hotspots in the city to have intense CCTV surveillance, besides stepping up policing,” he said.

These include public places like malls, multiplexes, vegetable market, food market, religious places, school and colleges, as well as tuition institutes, which will be monitored from the Direct Police Control room.

One-stop Solution Centre

Quick medical treatment, legal guidance and counseling become vital for victims to sexual abuse. Bhatia said to ensure the women did not have to run from pillar to post for this, “We have planned to set up one more ‘One Stop Solution Centre’ at the city’s Civil Hospital.”

SHE Team

Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia says, “SHE teams at local police stations will be strengthened to speed up work on women issues, including security and legal advice.” SHE teams comprise four to five women cops in every police station specially dealing with crimes against women, along with doing regular policing work in their jurisdiction.They also have shortage of vehicles to quickly reach the spots of crimes while the women cops under the SHE teams are not adequate. While adding more staff would happen later, a fleet of 40 police vans are being exclusively delivered for local police stations soon, according to Bhatia.

181 ‘Abhyam’ Helpline

The helpline teams are severely handicapped as they have only three vehicles. The city will have 100 more vehicles in the helpline’s fleet to make it more effective. Bhatia said the process to acquire the vehicles is already on. ‘Abhyam’ also provides legal assistance in domestic violence against women, in the workplace or in public places, or in harassment by anti-social elements at schools and colleges. With just three vehicles, Abhyam can’t cope with the pressures.