Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta told indianexpress.com on Saturday that they have chalked out a master plan to ensure safety of women in the city.
Gupta’s reaction came after the deputy speaker of the state legislative council, Neelam Gorhe, directed Pune Police to take strict measures for ensuring the safety of women following the gruesome murder of a teenaged kabaddi player in Bibwewadi. The 14-year-old girl was assaulted several times by her 21-year-old stalker, who is also a close relative of the victim. Gorhe met the family members of the victim. The girl’s parents have demanded strictest punishment for the culprit.
Gorhe said she has issued a number of directives to the police commissioner to ensure justice to the victim. “The gruesome murder has shocked the entire city. The incident has once again highlighted the issue of safety of women and girls. I have, therefore, directed Pune Police to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of our womenfolk,” she said. Gorhe also directed police to take the case to a fast-track court in order to speed up the trial.
Meanwhile, Gupta said, “We have already revived programmes like ‘Damini Squads’ and ‘Police Kaka’ to help women and girls in distress. These schemes were conceived a few years ago but were later discontinued. We are also in the process of reviving other schemes designed to enhance the safety of women.”
Police officials said the ‘Damini Squads’ were formed to curb crimes against women on city streets in 2015. Clad in ‘commando uniforms’ and comprising 33 women cops, named ‘Damini Marshals’, the squad had turned out to be an effective force in helping girls and women in distress.
Under the ‘Police Kaka’ and ‘Police Didi’ schemes, Pune Police appointed a police constable in every school as nodal officer to look into allegations of harassment, ragging and molestation.
The police chief said: “As colleges are restarting, we will start counselling of girl students. Similar exercises will also be undertaken in schools.”
He said their beat marshals had passed the area where the young kabbadi player was murdered on the day of her murder. “There are certain spots in the city which are patrolled by our beat marshals regularly. Unfortunately, the incident occurred after our beat marshals passed the area,” he said.
“If girls and women are being stalked, they should immediately contact our helpline number (1091). Even if they find that a person had stalked them once, they should immediately contact police so that we can initiate necessary action. Girls should not feel afraid of such stalkers and anti-social elements, the police are there to ensure their safety and security.”
State BJP women wing president Uma Khapre also met the police commissioner and demanded the setting up of a fast-track court to ensure timely justice to the victim’s family. “Police should also ensure security of the girls who will serve as witnesses in the case,” she said, adding that the MVA government should make stern laws to prevent crimes against women.