Safer Rides for Women on BMTC Buses
By Merlin Francis | Published: 12th January 2014 09:18 AM |
Women passengers travelling in BMTC buses may now get some relief with the corporation deciding to hand over sexual offenders to either the Hoysala or Abhaya police. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the Women’s Safety Committee set up by BMTC a week ago.
The move will not only ensure that more women speak up when faced with sexual abuse, but will also ensure that by getting the police involved, action will be taken against the offenders.
“The biggest problem that we have been facing in cases of sexual harassment is the handing over of the accused,” said Anjum Parvez, managing director, BMTC.
Until now, if a woman passenger complained of sexual abuse by a co-passenger, the complaint could be ignored.
The accused could either be removed from the bus, there would be an attempt at a ‘compromise’ or the entire bus with its passengers would be taken to the nearest police station for the issue to be sorted out.
This not only discouraged women from complaining, but also meant that the abuse was not recorded and the perpetrator was left free to continue his crime elsewhere.
“The conductors and drivers will now be instructed to call the Abhaya police (1091) or the Hoysala police (100) who patrol the city constantly. The bus will be taken to the closest bus stop where the culprit will be handed over to the Abhaya or Hoysala police officers and the next course of action will be taken,” said G Ramesh, director (security and vigilance), BMTC. The Abhaya police, which specifically looks at crimes against women, has seven vehicles (one for each sub-division), while the Hoysala police has 114.
Vinay Srinivas, who represented the Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike in the committee, said: “Considering that most people are unaware of the existence of the Abhaya police or the contact number of the Hoysala police, we have also asked for the required material to be prepared to create awareness among women. Gender sensitisation training will also be provided for drivers and conductors of the buses,” he said.