In a recommendation that has stoked a controversy, a committee of the Karnataka Legislature has proposed a ban on mobile phones in schools and colleges as a step to curb incidents like rape.
“Karnataka government should direct the Education Department to impose a compulsory ban on students in schools and colleges bringing mobile phones,” the Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare said.
The recommendation in the report of the 23-member committee headed by Shakuntala Shetty, tabled in both Houses of Karnataka legislature on Friday, is contained under a chapter under the title, “rape/missing cases of women”.
The report refers to the rising incidents of rape across the country and cites the 2012 Delhi gangrape case and the recent gangrape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh, which have made “Indians hang their heads in shame before the entire world”.
“We have found during our interactions that mobile is the reason behind kidnap and rape among school and college going girls,” Shetty said, defending the panel’s controversial findings and recommendations.
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“When I did go through two or three rape cases of minor girls, what they told me was that they had got a missed call and out of curiosity they wanted to find out about it and it started from there…,” she said. “As we found several such incidents, we in the committee decided to recommend a ban on mobiles; …it is not necessary for students, so we have mentioned that it should be banned.”
In another recommendation, the committee has suggested that seminars and awareness programmes should be conducted in schools and colleges periodically as a measure to stop atrocities against women.
Other recommendations made by the committee include installation of CCTV cameras at police stations, deputing 20 per cent women police staff in each station, additional women police stations, and separate toilet facility for women at stations.