The state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has written to the Home Department to activate the Mahila Suraksha Samitis that have become defunct across Gujarat over the last 10 years.
The state government had formed the Samitis in major cities of Ahmedabad,Vadodara,Surat and Rajkot. The Samities were formed to address and resolve issues related to women. These were later extended to a few districts in the state,but all are lying inactive in smaller towns.
The women cell of the CID at Gandhinagar said the government has been asked to explain the reasons why the Mahila Samitis are inactive.
There are hardly 17 Mahila Suraksha Samitis across the state that are lying technically headless as there was no vice-president who is supposed to head all the Samities and district chiefs as per the state government protocol. This has resulted in an additional charge on the women cell of the CID to supervise the Samitis.
The state Home Department is the over all supervising authority of the Mahila Suraksha Samitis.
DIG CID (Women Cell) Anil Pratham said,In absence of the Mahila Suraksha Samitis,the women end up going to women police stations for help. Some cases need legal aide while others need more of counselling. The Samities are meant to counsel women. But,these are lying without staff,supervision and work. Women are not even aware of the existence of these Samitis. We have asked the government to activate these Samitis as soon as possible.
The CID officials said if the Samitis are activated,the cases related to domestic issues,work related problems and other women issues can be solved through counselling at these centres. The women police stations have ended up as counselling centres for domestic issues.
Pratham,who is now the chairperson of Mahila Suraksha Samiti,said,The duties of the women police stations are limited and the Mahila Samitis are a must in the state to resolve all women issues.
The women who go to women police stations are not receiving satisfactory attention and often complain of being ill treated. The women first need to go to the Mahila Suraksha Samitis with complaints and only those involving criminal charges of domestic violence,sexual harassment,dowry cases should be given to women police stations. Since the Samitis are inactive,the women do not even know about these bodies, she said.
The Mahila Suraksha Samiti office at Lal Darwaja in Ahmedabad was the first to begin works in the state with the chief of all Samitis stationed there. However,now this office has one official and a peon working for a few hours a day with not a single case registered in last several months.
The CID officials said an average of four cases come up in one month that lie unsolved without any counselling or an official complaint for years.
The CID has also asked the government to appoint more employees in these Samitis and open more centres in the state with a request that all districts should have one full-fledged Mahila Suraksha Samiti centre.
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