Punjab bans calling women to police stations for probe

Chandigarh, Dec 31 (IANS) Days after a teenaged gang-rape victim in Patiala district committed suicide after she was repeatedly called to the police station and asked uncomfortable questions, the Punjab government Monday ordered that no complainant of gender-related cases would be called to police stations in future.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal directed the state director general of police (DGP) to ensure that no woman complainant was called to the police station for investigation.

"The complainant would be examined at her residence by the police authorities accompanied by a woman police official, that too in the presence of her family members," the order said.

"Likewise, the chief minister also asked the DGP to depute only the gazetted officers, not below the rank of DSP (deputy superintendent of police), to be supervisory officer in investigating gender related cases," a spokesman, quoting the chief minister, said here.

Badal also instructed that a dedicated telephone number, manned by woman constables, would be set up in all the police stations to deal with complaints of gender-related crimes so that the complainants could freely come forth with their grievances without any fear, hesitation or inhibition, said the spokesman.

In a letter to Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Badal has urged him to allocate dedicated courts in all districts across Punjab to ensure speedy trial of cases involving women and children.

Badal also announced several other measures to ensure safety of women and children in the state.