To fight the increasing crime against women and children, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the first ‘Disha Police Station’ in Rajamahendravaram city on Saturday, February 8.
With the aim of setting up 18 such police stations by the end of the month, the state government is planning to effectively deal with crimes against women and children. The authorities will also fast-track the judicial proceedings in such cases.
Headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officer, each police station will have a team of 26 to 47 officials, mostly comprising of female officers.
While sharing the details, CM Jagan said:
“It is a historic day. Eighteen such Disha police stations will be set up in the entire state, besides an exclusive court in each district to try cases relating to crimes against women and children. Special public prosecutors will also be appointed for these courts to ensure a better conviction, which also enables to strengthen the current system by four times.”
Some of the existing women’s police stations will also be upgraded to Disha women’s police stations.
The additional team headed by a DSP would deal with the crimes covered under the Disha Bill, including IPC section 376 (rape and gang rape), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and the POCSO Act.
And, the special Disha police stations will have multiple facilities for women and children like a creche, waiting halls, counseling rooms, and baby care rooms.
To attend the emergency calls from women in distress, a control room will also be set up. These control rooms will be able to track the nearest response vehicle and automatically dispatch it to the location of the victim.
Also, a mobile application ‘Disha App’ has been launched for women’s safety. Because of this app, any person can now alert the officials by just shaking their phone when in distress. And, if unable to operate the phone, SOS will be sent to the Disha control room as well as their family members.
Thirteen one-stop centers are currently operational for providing services to sexual abuse victims and survivors. While sharing their details, CM Jagan mentioned:
“These centres will act as the first point of contact to victims for assisting in medical examination, facilitation in the recording of statement and FIR, legal aid, social-psychological counselling and victim compensation.”
The above changes came after a veterinarian, Disha (name changed), was brutally raped and murdered on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 26 last year.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 also known as the Disha Act on December 13 to punish the criminals who commit violence against women and kids.
As per the Act, the entire investigation will be completed within 7 days and trial within 14 days in cases where substantial conclusive evidence is available.
According to Section 354 F of the Act, punishment for sexual assault on children will range from 10 to 14 years of imprisonment. The death penalty has been prescribed as a punishment in cases of all heinous offenses of rape where adequate evidence is obtainable.
Andhra Pradesh Home Minister, Mekathoti Sucharitha, took to Twitter to applaud and celebrate the great step. She wrote,
“To all the little girls who are in Andhra, Live without fear. Our beloved CM @ysjagan Anna Pledges with his wonderful sight for woman safety with All his Might To Be Treated Right. He’ll bring you freedom of living in your own way.#YSJaganLaunchesDishaApp #DishaPoliceStation.”
At IFORHER, we are proud of the steps taken by the Andhra Government to effectively deal with increasing crimes against women and children. We are still waiting for the day when the women of our country would be living without any fear. Let’s hope it will come soon!