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The Kerala government has taken a positive step to sensitise people about violence against women as well as our right to public spaces.
With increasing crimes against women being reported across India, the safety of women is a major concern in the country. To promote awareness about women’s right to public spaces, The Women and Child Development Ministry of the Kerala state government is all set to organise a ‘Night Walk for Women’ on December 29th. This was the very same day that Jyoti Singh (known as ‘Nirbhaya’) died after fighting for her life for 13 days in 2012.
This night walk was announced by Minister of Health & Social Welfare KK Shailaja on Thursday, as part of ‘Sadhairyam Munnottu’ (‘go ahead bravely’), a scheme envisaged by the department for women empowerment programmes.
The main reason cited for organising this walk is to promote women’s empowerment and to educate people about the increasing cases of violence against women.
An interesting fact is that this walk will be held from 11 am to 1 am at 100 locations across the state.
Apart from this walk, the government is also planning to set up CCTV cameras and street lights across the state, starting with these 100 locations.
TV Anupama, Director of the Women and Child Development department in Kerala told The News Minute, “Functioning of CCTVs and street lights in these locations will be checked and this has been communicated to the authorities concerned.”
The government has also said that the Janamaithri police will also work on creating a ‘crime map’. Further, these night walks will continue till March 8 – International Women’s Day.
Government officials have also commented that each organisation working for the walk has been urged to appoint a nodal officer for coordinating the walk properly and safely. Local self-governance institutions have been asked to form neighbourhood groups to make people aware of the need to reclaim public spaces.
According to the recently released annual NCRB Crime in India Report 2017, a total of 3,59,849 cases of violence against women were reported in 2017, out of which a total of 32,559 cases were of rapes. Not surprisingly, the number of crimes against women in 2017 (around 3.6 lakh) is more than the number in 2016 (around 3.4 Lakh). This points to the rising crime against women, but could also reflect that more women are now reporting such crimes committed against then.
Time and again, most Indian states have failed to take women’s safety and security seriously, whether it is the laxity in filing FIRs or the poor state of investigation into such crimes.
At this point, this step taken by the Kerala government is a welcome move that other states can learn from.
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