To curb crimes against women and children in Uttar Pradesh, and as a reactive measure to multiple rape cases, including the unfortunate Balrampur and Hathras incidents, CM Yogi Adityanath has launched Mission Shakti in UP on 17th October. With an aim to guarantee security and respect for every woman in the state, the UP Government has kick-started the mission on the first day of Shardiya Navratri. The mission will run for at least six months till April (Vasantik Navratri) 2021.
CM Yogi Adityanath has said that the first phase of Mission Shakti will emphasise on raising awareness towards ensuring the safety and dignity of women and girl-child. In the second phase, the mission will turn into an Operation (Shakti) in which eve-teasers will be targeted and punished. They will have to face social boycott, and their pictures will be displayed publically, he added.
According to a report by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released recently, the highest number of crimes against women in 2019 was recorded in Uttar Pradesh. Such an appalling feat is all the more reason for such an initiative to take place.
Just three days after the take-off, the state’s prosecution directorate under Mission Shakti campaign has identified as many as 400 cases related to crimes against women and children for their earlier judicial remedy. 134 of the 400 cases were of “serious nature”, and in most of the identified cases, the trial has been completed, officials at the prosecution department said.
Prosecution officers have started pushing back the pleas of the accused in the court as a part of the mission. 14 accused have been sentenced to death in 11 cases of torture and murder of women and children, while in another 11 such cases, 20 convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment under Mission Shakti. Other than that, in 8 cases of cruelty against women and children, 22 accused were awarded imprisonment and/or fine. The prosecution also got succeeded in revoking bail for 347 accused.
In Kanpur, the prosecution department is gearing up to punish the accused in cases related to rape, POSCO, and other female crimes. A list of such cases has been prepared in which punishment can be awarded by the end of this year. In the Sessions Courts, 200 such lawsuits have been selected from thousands of cases in which every day a hearing can take place to come up with a quick decision.
CM has also said that cases related to women crimes will be on the priority list, but drastic action will be taken against women who will lodge a false complaint.
The mission is not only a crackdown on the perpetrators of crimes against women, but also an awareness campaign which invites members of the civil society, support groups, volunteers, and administration to the forefront.
CM Adityanath, on Friday, has attended the inauguration of ‘Mahila help desk’ at all the 1535 police stations in UP through a video conference. All these 1535 mahila help desks will have female police officers, considering that women are not at ease while filing complaints in front of a male police officer which further impedes the investigation. These help desks will function 24*7 and will be surrounded by sound proof glass. Moreover, no one will be able to see who is filing a complaint inside; thus privacy and security of the victim is of the utmost importance.
Earlier in the week, UP Government appointed Green Gang to launch a drive against anti-social elements who are involved in exploitation and harassment of women. Operated by Hope Welfare Trust, Green Gang is a group of women volunteers which runs de-addiction and anti-gambling campaigns in rural areas of Purvanchal region of the state. They will take duty for the safety of women in 200 villages in Varanasi, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Jaunpur, Chandauli, and Ayodhya districts.
Furthermore, in Pratapgarh girls studying in schools and colleges are being taught self-defence techniques. Nodal officers are giving instruction to staff and teachers of schools and colleges about self-reliance. Various state run programmes are also being organised to raise awareness about women’s helpline numbers – 1090, 181, 1076, 108 and 102. To make girls less hesitant about reporting any misbehaviour, female police officers from Baghpat are getting friendly with young girls by taking selfies with them.
In Agra, eight female sub-inspector have been appointed as outpost incharge in a bid to strengthen connectivity between civil society and police department, making it easier for women to report a crime.
To help spread the message of women safety, self-respect, and self-reliance, numerous events are lined up during the campaign to be organised in 521 blocks, 59,000 gram panchayats, and 630 urban local bodies in 75 districts for which 100 role models among women will be identified in each district.
The whole point is to create a network starting at the grass root level to make it better and safe for women in the state. While the main focus is to curtail crimes against women, capacity building is also on the Government’s agenda. Couple that up with fast track courts to provide an expedited trial, and then Uttar Pradesh can do away with the ‘not safe for women’ tag (hopefully), but it is still a long way to go. Starting a mission is one thing, and implementing it effectively is another. It has been just a week since the mission was launched, and results are there to see, but it is still early days. Let us hope that this is not just another scheme, which gets started with full enthusiasm, and later just becomes a showpiece for the Government to blabber about at the time of elections.
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