*No compliance to MHA directive on Mahila Police Volunteers
JAMMU, Jan 16: Notwithstanding the fact that crime against women has become an issue of grave concern across the country, Jammu and Kashmir has not shown any seriousness in establishing Investigation Units for Crime Against Women (IUCAW), which were sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs more than two years back. Moreover, it has failed to ensure compliance to the directive regarding deployment of Special Mahila Police Volunteers for improving the safety and security of women.
The failure to ensure timely action on these important directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was admitted on the floor of the Legislative Assembly by none else than the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also Minister Incharge Home Department.
Since crime against women has assumed alarming proportion in the country, the Union Government in the month of December 2014 found it imperative to initiate such steps, which will leave no room for those committing crime against the fairer sex to go unpunished. Accordingly, the Union Home Minister vide DO letter dated December 31, 2014 asked all the States including Jammu and Kashmir to set-up Investigative Units for Crimes Against Women (IUCAW).
Thereafter on January 5, 2015, the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs dashed another communication to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and Director General of Police reminding them of urgency to establish such Investigative Units. It was explicitly conveyed to J&K that MHA would provide 50% of the cost to be incurred on establishing such units and State Government would be at liberty to set up such units in those areas where the incidents of crime against women are higher in comparison to other parts of the State.
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.
However, despite lapse of over two years the Home Department of the State has failed to ensure compliance to the directive of the MHA. “No doubt several meetings were held in the Home Department and Police Headquarters since the issuance of directive by the Ministry of Home Affairs but the same yielded no positive outcome till date”, official sources said.
Today, the Chief Minister in response to the question of PDP MLA Anjum Fazili in the Legislative Assembly said, “the proposal regarding establishment of 19 Investigation Units for Crime Against Women is being examined by the Police Headquarters in terms of manpower requirement and other terms and conditions laid down therein and shall be considered for accord of formal sanction shortly so that units could be established in districts where Women Police Stations have not been established so far”.
“The dilly-dallying approach in establishing Investigation Units for Crime Against Women is notwithstanding the fact that not much financial implication is involved and only manpower rationalization will have to be conducted as per the provision kept by the Ministry of Home Affairs”, sources pointed out.
It is pertinent to mention here that in J&K there is no separate cadre of Women Police Force. However, six Women Police Stations exclusively manned by women police have been established at District Headquarters of Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla to deal with the cases of domestic and social violence
Moreover, there is no compliance to the directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding deployment of Special Mahila Police Volunteers for improving the safety and security of women despite lapse of more than seven months.
“The proposal of the MHA which was conveyed vide communication dated May 31, 2016 is under examination”, the Chief Minister admitted on the floor of the House.
According to the MHA communication, Special Mahila Police Volunteers shall be educated women of the locality and shall be selected by District Superintendent of Police through a transparent process after inviting applications. After training at district level, they will act as interface between the public and the police, who can be approached by women in distress for seeking assistance and support.