In a letter to the Allahabad High Court, the Uttar Pradesh government has requested it to direct all district and sessions court judges to dispose of cases of crimes against women on a priority basis.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, announced that during the Navratri period (October 17-25), a campaign, ‘Mission Shakti’, would be launched focussing on women safety and empowerment.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi wrote in the letter addressed to the HC registrar: “…I have been asked to request that in the wake of this campaign run by the state government for security of women and girls, please give required directions to all the district and sessions judges to do hearing and disposal of POCSO Act cases and cases of crimes against women and children on priority… so that the campaign… can be made successful.”
The letter comes in the wake of nationwide outrage over handling of the Hathras incident in which a 19-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped and assaulted by upper caste men. She later died of injuries.
Citing the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on crimes against women, Awasthi claimed that Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest convictions in 2019 in the country.
“It is to inform that during an assessment it was found that from January 1 to September 30 this year, even after a hindrance in judicial system due to the Covid pandemic, accused in 612 cases of crimes against women were given legal punishment after disposal of a total of 1,835 such cases. In the given time, punishment was given in 151 cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and in 57 rape cases, the accused were given 10 years in jail or life sentence,” read the letter.
It added that as per the NCRB data, a total of 15,116 cases of crime against women were disposed of in state courts in 2019. Of them, 8,559 cases resulted in conviction, the letter read.
“However, even after this, it should also be mentioned that if we consider the cases under the POCSO Act, then roughly more than 40,000 such cases are still pending as per the 2019 data. Similarly, more than 1.84 lakh cases of crimes against women are still pending, of which more than 20,000 are rape cases… Even though disposal of cases of crimes against women and children is better in the state, this needs to be even better. This is why we have decided to run a special campaign in the holy Navratri days — from October 17 to 25,” the letter read.
The government had earlier claimed that five persons were sent to the gallows for rape and another 193 sentenced to life under the current BJP government.
Chairing a meeting at his residence in Lucknow on Sunday, Adityanath watched a presentation on the ‘Mission Shakti’ campaign and directed all departments to prepare their respective action plans to execute it.
The CM directed officials to set up a women help desk in every police station and strengthen the Helpline 1090 for women.
Gram panchayat, industrial units, schools, government offices and Durga puja pandals and Ramlilas will organise various programmes on women empowerment under the campaign.
According to a government statement, at least 23 government departments — including those dealing with education and small enterprises — NGOs would participate in the campaign.
“Not only this, transport majors Uber and Ola will also be partners in this endeavour. Short films, street plays, safety pledge, sensitisation about women’s law and inspirational stories will mark the events during this drive,” the statement added.
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