24X7 helpline for women soon

Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka on Monday announced a slew of measures to ensure safety of women in the City in the wake of the recent gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman inside a moving bus in New Delhi.

One of the prominent measures is the preparation of a set of guidelines to empower women, especially the working class, to thwart incidents such as rape.

“The guidelines include measures to be adopted by the working woman herself, her family as well as the employer of the company she works with, during her commute between her home and workplace. The list will be prepared by the City police in consultation with women organisations and NGOs within two days,” he said.

Ashoka, also the minister for Home and Transport, said a dedicated 24X7 helpline for women in distress will be launched shortly.

“Women who feel there is a threat to their safety, irrespective of where they are, can call the helpline. The Hoysala or other patrol police will rush to their help immediately. A police officer of the rank of DCP will monitor the helpline, which is different from the existing helpline (being run by the Women and Child Welfare Department) that works only during office hours,” he said.

The deputy chief minister said the government was exploring legal options to punish people convicted of rape-like incidents under the Karnataka Organised Crime (Prevention) Act or Goonda Act.

“We don’t want Bangalore to be another Delhi. There is no compromise. The City has a reputation of being the IT capital and there are lakhs of women also working in small establishments like garment factories. We demand that the Union government call a meeting of home ministers of all the states and chalk out plans to amend law to mete out strict punishment, including death penalty, to persons convicted of rape,” he said.

Ashoka said he would set a time period for filing charge sheets in cases such as rape.
“Action will be initiated against police officers who unnecessarily delay the procedures or dilly-dally while registering complaints,” he said.

Mapping of areas

Ashoka said he had directed the police department to map abandoned areas in the City and increase police patrolling.

“We will have a meeting with autorickshaw and cab drivers’ associations and convince them to install GPS systems in their vehicles, so that tracking becomes easy. We will also ensure that cab drivers’ associations compulsorily register the drivers they recruit along with their photograph and fingerprints. The same should be shared with the local police station and updated whenever there are new recruitments,” he said.

He said a circular would be sent to all industries, software and other companies, regarding the measures they should immediately take to ensure the safety of their women workers.

“They will also be asked to give details of the night service cabs,” he said.
Ashoka said police patrolling will be increased in bus stations, railway stations, flyovers and underpasses which are considered to be sensitive.
“Advertisements and tinted windshields on buses will be removed soon,” he said.

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