UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday suggested that the strength of women in Kerala police should be raised to 10 per cent in two years and to 25 per cent in five years from the existing 5 per cent. She was speaking after launching ‘Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam’, an initiative by the Kerala police to ensure protection for women.
“Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam’ is a model for other states. The decision of the state government to start six all-women police stations should be appreciated,” she said.
“Atrocities against women are on the rise and women feel unsecured even in public places. With ‘Nirbhaya’ project being realised, women in Kerala can feel safe anywhere, anytime,” she pointed out. Efforts to get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lok Sabha would continue, the Congress president said.
She pointed out that the women of Kerala were among the best educated women in the country.
‘Nirbhaya Keralam’ project has been formulated with the support of the Central Government’s project of the same name. The project is being implemented using `7.5 crore allotted by the state government. ‘Nirbhaya’ volunteers, who will be selected from Kudumbashree and Janasree units, and other voluntary organisations, are the major component of the project.
Each panchayat will get the service of 10 volunteers, while the number of volunteers in the Municipality and Corporation will be 30 and 40, respectively. The volunteers will not be given any salary, but they will get uniform, mobile phone allowance and an identity card.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who spoke at the inaugural function, said separate courts would be set up in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram for considering cases related to women and children.
The volunteers will be provided training under the state police. They will also visit houses where women stay alone and keep constant contact with them. They will also take special care of widows and senior citizens who live alone. The ‘Nirbhaya’ volunteers will help people get the support of police during emergencies.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala presided over the function. DGP K S Balasubramaniam welcomed the gathering. Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, Social Welfare and Panchayat Minister M K Muneer, Finance Minister K M Mani, Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister of State for Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs K V Thomas, Excise Minister K Babu, Industries Minister P K Kunhalikutty and Hibi Eden MLA were present at the function. DIG R Sreelekha proposed the vote of thanks.