Lucknow: Looking to improve its tattered image in the wake of the Hathras alleged gang rape and murder controversy, the Yogi Adityanath government is now set to launch a two-point drive to tackle to the issue of crimes against women.
On 17 October, the government will launch two new programmes — ‘Mission Shakti’ and ‘Operation Shakti’ — in a concerted effort towards raising awareness and tracking ‘criminals’.
According to the government, Mission Shakti will feature awareness campaigns related to women’s safety. In a tweet, the CM’s Office said initiatives like gender-based sensitisation, training, corporate activity, voice messages, interviews, programmes in Durga Puja and other cultural pandals should be organised to create greater awareness under ‘Mission Shakti’.
'मिशन शक्ति' अभियान के दौरान लैंगिक आधारित संवेदीकरण, प्रशिक्षण, काॅरपोरेट एक्टिविटी, ध्वनि सन्देश, साक्षात्कार, दुर्गा पूजा व अन्य सांस्कृतिक पण्डालों में कार्यक्रम सहित जागरूकता उत्पन्न किए जाने संबंधी आयोजन किए जाएं: मुख्यमंत्री श्री @myogiadityanath जी pic.twitter.com/lVKVr225IO
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) October 12, 2020
Under Operation Shakti, the government will prepare a register of persons who have come out of jail after serving time for crimes against women and monitor if there are fresh complaints against them, said a UP Police officer who didn’t wish to be named.
A pilot version of this was conducted in the Lucknow zone, which was then approved for statewide launch by the government, added the officer.
On Monday, CM Yogi Adityanath held a meeting on this issue and called for conducting both programmes in every district and gram panchayat in all 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh. He added that these programmes should also be carried out in offices, institutes, and industrial establishments.
The six-month Shakti programmes will run from this week until April 2021. These will be monitored by the Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (home) and the director general of police (DGP).
The CM’s meeting
According to government sources, two senior women officials made presentations on the programmes during the meeting held by CM Yogi Adityanath.
Neera Rawat, Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Director General (Women) and Child Safety Organization’s head, made a presentation on Mission Shakti while Laxmi Singh, Inspector General of Lucknow Range, made a presentation on Operation Shakti.
During the meet, the CM called for regular meetings of a panel in every district for continuous monitoring of crimes against women and children. He also sought faster steps for quick disposal of such cases and those related to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Adityanath also emphasised the need to spread extensive publicity material about women’s safety and respect through social media and other means.
In addition to daily review of cases related to crimes against women at the district level, senior officers should also conduct weekly, fortnightly and monthly reviews, the CM said in the meeting.
He also issued instructions to establish women help desks in all the police stations of UP, and intensify the activities of anti-Romeo squads.
Opposition says ‘image makeover’ attempt
However, with the Hathras case from last month still fresh in memory, where the government was accused of mishandling the incident with a midnight forcible cremation of the victim, the opposition is unwilling to spare the administration any criticism.
Mamta Chaudhary, the UP president of Congress women’s wing, termed the ‘Shakti’ campaign a shallow attempt intended at image makeover.
“If the government is really concerned about the safety of women, then first of all, it should ensure serious action in the cases that have come up in the recent past. It should admit the lapses in the role played by the government and administration in the Hathras case,” she said.
“Several awareness campaigns intended to curb crime against women were run in the past too. However, despite all these, the number of such crimes has increased continuously in UP. Instead of providing protection to the victims, the government is standing with the accused,” she added.
Richa Singh, Samajwadi Party leader and former president of Allahabad University Students’ Union, said chaos is at its peak in UP right now.
“In a system where the police force itself has forgotten the basics of law, it will be worthless to hope for women’s safety. The government may plan any numbers of campaigns, but the reality has already been exposed before the public,” she said.
Uttar Pradesh BJP’s spokesperson Naveen Srivastava defended the government, saying it is continuously working for the cause of women’s safety.
“This is why the anti-Romeo squads have been formed. This government has recruited more than 10,000 female police personnel. The government is fully conscious about the crimes against women. Accountability of officials has also been decided,” he said.
“We strongly believe in bolstering women empowerment. The opposition does nothing worthwhile other than indulging in the game of allegations and counter-allegations,” he added.