Crime against women has increased in our country. Even in the capital city of Delhi, we are told that women avoid coming out of their homes after dusk. This shows that security of women has come down to a low level. In recent years, we have seen many horrendous crimes committed against them, which put a question mark on the culture and character of male population in the country. Our State is no exception to this curse. The Government and the civil society, both are alarmed by this situation. Great pressure has been mounted on the Government to take necessary steps aimed at curbing the crime. Full blooded debate is ranging in various circles of civil society. Some observers strongly argue that promiscuity shown in electronic media is one of the causes of crime against women.
We do not intend to go into the labyrinthine of dos and don’ts for women in our society. After all, this is a democratic and liberal State and people have the freedom of movement and speech. They have the right to conduct their lives as they like unless their activities jeopardize the order of civil society. All this notwithstanding, the Government is enjoined by the constitution as well as the moral law to provide full protection to the women against criminal activity of anti-social elements. A number of laws have been enacted and enforced but much remains to be done in this area. After some horrendous incidents of crime against women surfaced, the Ministry of Home Affairs took cognizance of dangerous consequences of this destructive trend and initiated some strong legal as well as administrative measures to control it. One among these was opening of Investigation Units for Crime Against Women (IUCAW). It was proposed to open such units in the districts but more especially in localities where crime against women was on rise and frequent. The State of J&K was also advised to draw a plan of opening such units. Additionally, the Home Ministry made a commitment that it would give fifty per cent support to the State in setting up the units. The offer also contained various guidelines and conditionality about administrative aspects of the scheme. For example, the advice was that the State Government was at liberty to identify the localities where it would want the unit to be established. Moreover, while stating that each such unit shall consist of 15 persons, preferably five of them women, the MHA even gave full flexibility to the State on whether to create new posts or to designate from the existing strength. However, it was specifically mentioned that each unit shall be headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police assisted by two Deputy Superintendents of Police.
Keeping in mind the nature of the social aberration that had befallen the society and the urgency of addressing it at Governmental level besides the incentives offered by the Central Government, we are sorry to note that the Chief Minister said on the floor of the Assembly that her Government has not been able to make any headway in the matter till date. She keeps the charge of the Home Department and it is this department that has to deal with the subject. However, the ray of hope is to be found in CM’s assertion that the Government is examining the proposal of the Centre and there is movement at Government level to proceed with the opening of such units. Additionally, the MHA has also proposed Special Mahila Police Volunteers which means that educated and sensible women in localities would be enrolled to keep a watch and suggest to the authorities how an incident of crime can be dealt with effectively. The Chief Minister being in charge of the Home Department, again stated in the Assembly that the Government had not taken any step in this direction as well till date. This is not a happy state of affairs. To think that there is little or negligible crime against women in our State is an idle man’s dream. Even if there is a solitary case, that too is a blot on the name of the State and should not happen. We know that no person in the State is more interested in providing security and safety to the women than the Chief Minister herself, and we also know that she is strong advocator of security and safety of women, we would expect the bureaucracy and particularly the Home Department and the Law Department to get sensitized on the subject and take concrete steps for introducing the proposed progamme at vulnerable localities in the State. Two years is too long a time to wait for introducing the scheme.