Sunday, 24 February 2013

Reality Check? (ready with our checklist!!!)

By Shreya Gupta and Ishita Y. Aggarwal - Interns (Centre for Social Research)
Shreya and Ishita Interns (Centre for Social Research) land up with one assignment

Result: One report and one remark (which does not necessarily equal to a remarkable report, but we still want you to read)

First the report:

Is power and constant chaperoning the only solution to improve the safety concerns of women in the city? Focusing on this issue a committee has been formed comprising police officials, civil society members and social activists. This special committee chaired by Delhi Traffic Police Commissioner Mr. Sudhir Yadav looks into different means and measures for improving safety of women within the city and role that civil societies can play. Mr.Yadav, issued a report detailing the efforts started and proposed to enhance the safety of women in the city. A meeting held on 25th January, 2013 with other civil society actors and activists discussed the ongoing efforts by Delhi Police. Although much effort is visible in the city in terms of late night patrolling, increased number of PCR vans, extension of anti-violence schemes such as ‘Parivartan’ and other measures, the attitude of the police in local police stations and in dealing with women related cases still awaits change.

An important order which has been implemented is the abolition of the jurisdictional issue in registering complaints by women. A woman can now lodge her complaint with any local police station and expect full support from the personnel. The case would then subsequently be transferred to the appropriate police station. This ends the issue of harassment at the first point of contact. The ‘Aapka Scheme’ started by the Commissioner of Delhi Police, enables an update every fortnight on registered cases via email, sms or post. Local level committees are also being formed at every police station to improve women’s safety. The committee would be chaired by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and convened by the Station House Officer (SHO). Civil society members would include the Principal of a prestigious girls’ school of the area and an ex-serviceman among others. This is aimed at monitoring safety of women and girls, especially in areas frequented by them such as markets.

The agenda for the meeting this time was to discuss solutions to address safety of women in public places, identifying the infrastructural limitations, improvements in police procedures and the role civil societies can play in the same.

While reviewing the efficiency of helpline numbers it was suggested that the different lines should be combined into one common number. This adoption of a single helpline number might prove to be more effective as a cornered person need not remember numerous numbers. It was agreed that in a dangerous situation use of mobiles or telephones are the last thing on a person’s mind. Thus having one common helpline number will facilitate in cutting down delays owing to dialing of a wrong number. Further, it was suggested that information regarding auto helpline should be made public so as to counter the growing menace of autos.

Another proposition was the convergence of all protective schemes launched by the various agencies of the state. Existence of schemes addressing same issues by different departments leads to unnecessary overlapping which results in confusion and wastage of resources.

A major obstacle that citizens face in approaching help is the lack of information, his/her rights and the procedure to be followed. In regard to this it was proposed that the police should also join in spreading awareness by using various media platforms like talk shows, radio, television and print media to inform people about procedures and how to approach help. Continuing with the above many NGO’s also requested to be educated on the police procedure for handling of cases so that they could function in an informed manner when acting on behalf of the police or otherwise in the field. Further, it was also advised that students should also be roped in to spread awareness.

Another major issue raised was how the newly recruited female police officers would be incorporated within the force and used as agents of change. In addition Mr. Yadav was asked to look into making a provision to provide recourse if police officers do not follow standard operating procedures. Important and often neglected issues of overloading of public transport and open urination were also raised. Role of police in controlling misuse of pornographic material was also raised. Another initiative suggested was the creation of a forum where sensitive senior officials meet with NGO’s to follow up on cases and perform random checks on progress of different cases.

The efforts undertaken by the Delhi Police may be a good start at reigning in the situation of insecurity but a constant effort is what is required to sustain and ensure the need for creating a safe Delhi. Another aspect is that with the passage of time we have somewhere forgotten that we are all responsible. In the pursuit of attaining justice for ourselves and our fellow citizens the blunt truth of our collective shortcomings got blurred and we (as individuals and organisations) developed the habit of blaming others. No independent body can alone shoulder the onus of providing or making the city safe. It is ‘US’ who has to come and work together without the distinction of departments, personal or organisational ambit, jurisdiction, or being a civilian, activist or politician.

We are all collectively accountable for what we do and what we see. This dream of a safe city and a safer nation can only be achieved by pooling in resources and working in sync with different departments/agencies and most importantly with one another.


How good is pressure when that is the only reason behind an effort? But then, there is effort and effort shows action, say all I know. How long, is all I ask, till there is pressure? Is this not a farce?

I do not deny that the intention of the leaders of our country or their commitments are not genuine, I have no way to prove it! The cynicism is born out of a constant apathy which overshadows a few momentous days of uproar and call for change- Which happens through incidents, every once in a while. I hope this one proves my observation wrong.


No I am not. A cynic.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Delhi Police Week 2013 Launch of Booklets: 'Stop Violence AgainstChildren' and 'Aap ka Adhikar'

By Ishita Aggarwal - Intern (Centre for Social Research)
The ‘Delhi Police Week 2013’ displayed some amazing initiatives by Delhi Police in a bid to make the city safer for not just its women but also its children. Two booklets, ‘Stop Violence Against Children’ and ‘Aap ka Adhikar’ (stop violence against women), were released under the Delhi Police “Bas Aur Nahin” initiative, giving a strong message of no-tolerance of violence against women and children.

Ms. Suman Nalwa, Head, Special Police Unit for Woman and Children, Delhi, voiced her concern over the city’s level of safety and expressed her sincere desire to make Delhi “a safe city for one and all”. “We welcome all criticisms as well”, she said. This in itself is a sea-change in the overall interaction and attitude of police with respect to citizens. Ms. Nalwa and Mr. Sudhir Yadav, Special Commissioner of Delhi Police (Traffic), together wished to see support flow from both ends viz. police and public, in order to further mutual enhancement.

A special exhibit of self-defence skills by a group of trained young girls and women showed martial arts techniques to enable enhancement of the ‘Safety Quotient (SQ)’ for women. It empowered women to use these techniques to prevent themselves from attempted sexual or other criminal assaults. This has built a team of over 90,000 children and women, from all age groups, in the city, who are now living more confident lives. Live examples of some such trained women spoke about how the training has truly altered their perspective of safety and self-confidence. They are now ready to break bones if anybody lays a finger at them, literally so.

Chief Guest of Honour, Smt. Shanta Sinha, Chairperson, National Commission of Child Rights, rightly raised her concern over the lack of knowledge which common citizens have with regard to Police procedures and complaint filing. She wanted the image of the Police to be that of a friend to the mind of a child rather than that of a monstrous-authority. She said that if children and Police partner, it will not just change Delhi, it will change the entire country, and what will emerge will be “a new Delhi and a new country”.

Dr. Smt. Kiran Walia, Minister of Social Welfare Department, Women & Child, Languages, upheld the extreme importance of ensuring public sensitization over social issues. Without public awareness realities would not change. Laws and Acts have not been able to stop dowry and female foeticide, neither have the police or hospitals been able to stop these crimes. The major initiative needs to generate from the public. It was indeed gratifying to see genuine attempts coming from the part of our law enforcers. It will only make the desired difference if we too as civil society members and responsible citizens make that conscious attempt at bridging the gap between police and public and join forces for a safer Delhi and a safer country.