State to invoke Goonda Act against rape accused

State to invoke Goonda Act against rape accused

Outrage propels govt into action

State to invoke Goonda Act against rape accused

Announcing a slew of measures to curb sexual crimes against women, the State government on Thursday announced that anyone accused of rape will henceforth be booked under the Goonda Act (Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum Grabbers Act, 1985).

The government’s move comes in the wake of a national outcry triggered by the gang-rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka told mediapersons here that a decision on invoking the Goonda Act has already been taken and within a couple of days, necessary amendments will be made to this Act.

As a safety measure for women in the City, Ashoka also launched a 24x7 helpline (No  1091). A call to this number will offer immediate help to women under attack in the City, while those across the State could call 100 when in distress, the minister said.

Ashoka, who is also the home minister, said, “a call to these numbers will alert the police, who will rush to the spot. Our police department is fully equipped to protect women. We have around 110 Hoysala and 367 Cheetah squads which can rush to help,” said the minister.

Besides, the State-owned transport buses will display information and alerts to women to be on guard so that they are not victimised.

This apart, the home department has issued directives to BPOs, IT companies and other business establishments to ensure safety of women. “We will ask these firms to inform the government about the steps they have initiated for the security of their women staff,” Ashoka said.

As a preventive measure, the home department has directed the BPOs, MNCs and IT companies to maintain a record of drivers and to install GPS system in all vehicles hired by them.

“Installing GPS system in all cabs hired by the companies is mandatory. Failing to do this, the companies will be held responsible for any untoward incident that takes place,” he warned.

Compulsory

The home department has made it compulsory for those running paying guest units and hostels for women to register themselves with police stations.

Ashoka pointed out that the police have stepped up vigil across all women colleges to check eve-teasing.

“Patrolling in vast vacant lands owned by universities and defence establishments have been stepped up. CCTV cameras would also be installed in these places, besides public places,” he said.