The UP Police Mahila Samman Prakoshth had been created in 2014 with the aim of bridging the distance between the Uttar Pradesh Police force and the civil society. And according to an Achievement Report (October 2014-November 2015), it aspires to “promote the security, dignity and empowerment of women.”
The fact that, throughout the nation, public trust in the Police force has been waning; is what spurred this initiative, undertaken by the Akhilesh Yadav-led government. And moreover, this is also a step in the direction to greater female empowerment — empowering women to speak up, to attain their fundamental rights, and to address their grievances to the police and the state support system.
Most women, especially those belonging to vulnerable social sections of the populace, hesitate to seek redressal and help from the Police in situations of distress. And thus, the UP government has come up with the unique idea of launching a web-portal for complaints lodged by women, called “Vikalp”. At the same time, workshops and camps to sensitize police personnel about gender and gender-based-violence have also been organized, and they’ve been very aptly named “Nav Chetna – New Consciousness”. These were organized in Lucknow, Pratapgarh, Lakhimpur, Bareilly, and Lalitpur, along with various other regions. Another approach towards enabling women to report crimes is the proposed launch of ‘women-friendly’ police stations in key districts.
Among the multiple initiatives undertaken by the UP government towards effective information dissemination, is the “Know your laws, Ask for your Rights” initiative. This involves the installation of posters across Uttar Pradesh — in public places, educational institutions, government offices, etc. These inform and educate the readers on the legal recourse available to one-and-all in cases of stalking, acid-attacks, and voyeurism, among other crimes.
The aforementioned efforts of the UP government to empower women and men alike, and to make the Police force more approachable, are just snapshots of the vast ocean of work accomplished by the government. The “Akshaya” program, for instance, wherein schoolgirls are trained, free of cost, in self-defence, has been a resounding success. As per the “Saarthi” program, gender-sensitization workshops were organized for bus-and auto-drivers, in order to encourage women to make greater use of UP’s public transportation system, and to remove all hindrances standing in the way of women attaining employment and success outside the confines of their homes.
Policies addressing the problems faced by children have also been launched, such as the creation of portals on missing children [which include “Khoya Paya”- developed by The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), and “Track the Missing Child”], to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s future — our children.
These programmes and policies will go a long way in guaranteeing the safety of women, and towards ensuring a fast and effective response of the Police force to women-related crimes, and will also massively help the people in understanding, and making full-use of, their rights.