More than 3,000 cases of crimes against women, including almost one rape every day, have been reported in the last two years, Congress MLA Mukesh Agnihotri Friday claimed.
Agnihotri, the Leader of Opposition in Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, moved a resolution in the House in the ongoing Winter Session to discuss crimes against women. The Haroli MLA said that a total of 641 cases of rape have been reported from the state in the last two years. “During the same period, 390 cases of cruelty against women, 49 murders of female victims, and 125 cases of eve-teasing were reported. Such ungodly things cannot be tolerated in our devbhoomi,” he added.
He said that recently, an 80-year-old woman in Sarkaghat was termed a witch and beaten up by a group of people, while in another case, a woman was killed and hanged from a tree. “A girl child was murdered in Chintpurni....Every day, we are hearing of complaints of sexual abuse by schoolteachers. Which way is our society headed?” he asked.
Sarkaghat MLA Col Inder Singh said the incident involving the 80-year-old woman was unfortunate and a ‘blemish’. “It was not simply a law-and-order problem. These crimes are also a social and domestic problem. In nearly 90 per cent of cases against women, the perpetrators are known to them,” he said, adding that mobility and communication are also restricted in the hill state leading to difficulty in quick action by the law enforcers.
Rajinder Rana demanded that a dedicated task force be created to deal with drug-related cases and crimes against women. Vikramaditya Singh said that 60 to 70 per cent inmates in prisons across the state are under-trials due to a slow justice delivery system. Theog MLA Rakesh Singha sought a reinvestigation in the Gudiya case under section 173A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Nurpur MLA Rakesh Pathania said that a Gudiya helpline and Shakti App for women have been launched by the state and prompt action taken in case of complaints. He also urged the MLAs to impart awareness about drug abuse and crimes against women to schoolchildren in their constituencies. MLA Rakesh Jamwal said that three family courts have been started in Shimla, Mandi and Dharamshala while fast-track courts have been set up to hear heinous crimes against women. CCTVs are being installed on a wider scale to help the police, he said.
Paonta Sahib MLA Sukh Ram Chaudhary said that an increase in industries in areas such as Nurpur and Baddi have attracted a large number of migrant employees, some of whom come here to escape persecution in their home states. “They tend to continue their criminal ways here and a strict verification of all outside workers is necessary,” he said.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said that at least four woman officials have been deputed at each police station in the state and the police department regularly trains women in unarmed combat in schools and colleges. He added that 11 woman police stations have been started in various districts.
HP Assembly passes MSME bill amid opposition walkout
The Himachal Pradesh Assembly Friday passed the HP Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (facilitation of establishment and operation) Bill, 2019 amid a walkout by the CPI(M) and the Congress, which raised several objections when the proposed legislation came up for discussion on the fifth day of the ongoing winter session.