In wake of recent incidents of molestation in Bengaluru, Centre has nudged the State governments — including Karnataka– to speed up setting up of dedicated units to probe crime against women, a project mooted by the Home Ministry in 2015 on 50:50 cost sharing basis. A recent analysis by the home ministry revealed that only 31 Investigative Units for Crime Against Women (IUCAWs) have been set up out of sanctioned 714. In a meeting with the State’s home secretaries, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought to expedite the setting up of these units that will only investigate crimes against women including rape, molestation, dowry deaths and acid attacks.
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Officials said the purpose of these dedicated units is to not only probe cases of crime against women but also be the first respondent who will register FIR without losing any time that will also help nail the accused persons faster. It may be recalled that the FIR into Bengaluru was registered more than 48 hours of the incident. MHA is learnt to have expressed its concerns over slow progress in setting up of the units and urged the States to finish their targets by March this year. Bihar and UP were the only two States that had set up maximum number of such units, added officials.
According to MHA, the initial proposal of 150 units was upgraded to 714 last year as it was felt that the initial number was inadequate given the number of cases being reported. These units, according to officials, will be set up in 714 police districts which are most prone to crimes against women and the state government concerned will have the liberty to set up these units in police districts of their choice.
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Home Minister Rajnath Singh while announcing the initial 150 units in January 2015 had said that they may consist of 15 personnel, preferably five of them women. Each IUCAW will be headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police assisted by two DSPs. Out of the total 2250 personnel required for the 150 IUCAWs, 750 will be women, Singh had stated.
Government officials also feel that expediting setting up of additional investigation units will help instill confidence among women and encourage them to come forward to lodge their complaints. Along with probing crimes against women, though, these units will also help in proactive policing, intelligence gathering and tackling organised crime, they added.