Bangalore citizen's group seeks measures for women's safety

Bangalore, Aug 31 (IANS) Citizen's group, the Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) Saturday urged the Karnataka government to ensure women's safety and sought stringent action on perpetrators of violence against them.

"Heinous acts are committed against women in Bangalore almost every day.The lack of respect for women in our society is appalling and is the root cause of these crimes. We want to sensitise the state government to reform laws and bring forward new measures to prevent crimes against women," BPAC president Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said in a statement here.

In a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister K.J. George and city Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar, the group expressed grave concern over rising crimes, including sexual assault and violence against women in the city.

According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau report, Bangalore ranks fourth in rape cases and second in crimes against women after Delhi in the country.

"Brutal acts of violence against women across the country reflect a larger societal malaise and deep rooted prejudices. It is high time we take steps to protect our women and children," said the group's core committee member Revathy Ashok.

The group asked the state government to implement the J.S. Verma Committee report and the criminal law amendment for enforcing the stringent laws, with increase in judicial capacity and quicker conviction of the accused in rape and other criminal cases against women.

"The state government should set up a city level and district level teams with forensic experts to investigate crime cases against women scientifically in a stipulated time for faster conviction of the accused to bring them to justice," Shaw said.

The central government had set up the three-member Verma Committee headed by former chief justice of India J.S. Verma after the gang-rape of a woman in New Delhi Dec 16, 2012 to recommend amendments to the criminal law for quicker trial and enhanced punishment to criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.

The committee submitted its report Jan 23 this year.

The group also sought a special legislative session for lawmakers to discuss crimes against women and create a sense of urgency among police, judiciary, bureaucracy and society.

"The state government should create a database of complaints filed on sexual crimes against women in each police station across the state, with details of accused, progress in investigation, conviction rates and punishment imposed. The database should be accessible to the public," Revathy said.

Citing the Verma Committee report, the group urged the government to reform the education system in the state to create gender sensitivity, sex education and adult education.

"The relevant law should be amended to record the statement of victims in the presence of her lawyer/magistrate in special cases to ensure they (victims) are not traumatised and their statements were not tampered with later," Shaw reiterated.

Seeking a 24x7 hotline to attend to distress calls from women in need of help, the group said ombudsmen should be appointed in each of the 30 districts across the state to check crimes against them and speed-up cases against the accused.

"The ombudsmen should fast track the cases of violence, sexual abuse and assault on women, while police should intensify nigh surveillance and patrolling across Bangalore and other cities across the state," Revathy said.

The group also sought better street lighting, surveillance cameras and public transportation for safety and security of women.

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