It has been a week since the state government made promises to implement plans for curbing the growing number of cases of crime against women, especially those related to rape in Maharashtra.
Although a number of these promises have translated into plans and are waiting for approval either from the legislature, Centre or judiciary, it will be a while before they are implemented.
“The most important decision so far is setting up 25 fast-track courts for which we will appeal to the high court. The process is underway. To make the laws related to rape and sexual harassment non-bailable, we have already made a request to the central government. We are awaiting their response,” said home minister RR Patil.
Maharashtra reported 46,000 cases related to crime against women between 2009 and 2011 and an abysmal 9.6% conviction rate for rape cases.
Following the outrage after the Delhi gangrape case, the state had announced long-term measures to reduce the security cover for VIPs and diverting it to women, forming women’s cells at police stations and colleges and strengthening forensic laboratories, among others.
The state’s woman and child’s welfare department kicked off a 10-day public awareness campaign on women’s laws, security and rights on January 3. The campaign will end on January 12 and aims at sensitising people.
The home minister has also asked senior cops in the state to conduct workshops, to sensitise policemen to tackle cases of harassment and crimes such as rape.
“Senior police officials are working on reducing VIP security and will make a proposal to the home department for approval. Following this, a committee led by the chief secretary will finalise the move to downsize forces that can be diverted to ensure women’s safety,” said a senior government official.