Updated: March 16, 2021 3:11:28 am
After deliberations with district-level officials and officials from the Home Ministry and Niti Aayog, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on Monday announced that the Centre is working out a plan to ensure that each police station in the country is equipped with a forensic kit or a rape investigation kit.
“Over the last couple of years, as many as 14,000 kits have been distributed to district administrations and police stations across the country. What we are looking at now is plugging the gaps and the idea is that each police station in the country have these forensic kits so that sexual violence cases can be properly investigated,’’ said Irani.
The Women and Child Development Ministry on Monday held daylong deliberations with representatives of 112 aspirational districts, as well as representatives of the 100 districts with the highest rates of crimes against women and children in the country. The officials also deliberated on Poshan Abhiyan, Mission Shakti and Mission Vatsalya with representatives from NALSA, NIMHANS and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
The rape investigation kits are designed to carry out immediate investigation and aid the evidence-gathering exercise in sexual assault and rape cases.
Irani said the ministry will look at how Nirbhaya Fund can be used in procurement of these kits for police stations. She further said NIMHANS has offered to provide tailor-made solutions for district-specific issues in any part of the country.
DG, BPR&D, VSK Koumudi, who participated in the proceedings, said that while the Home Ministry had taken the forensic kits down to the district and sub-division level, this was the first attempt to ensure that every police station in the country has such a kit. “It had not been supplied at this scale earlier. We also have to ensure an entire re-orientation of police as far as cases of sexual assault are concerned and that an environment is created that is positive for women and children,’’ he said.
Irani said the Ministry was also looking at ensuring that the anti-human trafficking units set up in districts across the country are equipped with these forensic kits.
“Apart from the districts with the highest rate of crime against women and children, the aspirational districts have been chosen as we have found that there is a high rate of violence against women in these districts as well. A lack of infrastructure – especially that of health and education – such as in tribal areas, pushes up incidents of crime such as that of trafficking from these areas,” she said.
“Also, high levels of malnutrition in these areas can be linked to early marriages of the girls and early pregnancies. Another issue is that of nutrition of undertrial women in prisons who may be pregnant or have their children staying with them. We are discussing how this nutrition gap can be met,” said the minister.
She also said that the Ministry was working out a proposal to amalgamate the different helplines for women, and that of children to streamline the processes and cut down time taken in responding to crisis or crimes.
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