VIJAYAWADA: On June 29, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy participated in an awareness campaign to promote the Disha App among women and girls in the State in the wake of the Seethanagaram incident wherein a nurse was allegedly raped. In the following week after the Chief Minister’s appeal, five lakh downloaded the mobile application which has been designed to ensure safety of women.
The application, which was launched in February last year, had been downloaded by around 15 lakh till June 20 this year. “So far, over 20 lakh women have downloaded the app,” Deepika Patil, Disha Special Officer, told TNIE in an interview. The police, however, are taking the numbers with a pinch of salt as it has been observed that there are many who are uninstalling the App.
“At times, there are almost two lakh downloads on a single day... of these, at least 20,000 people are uninstalling the app,” the Special Officer said, regretting that such people have a misconception that police may track them as the App seeks enabling of location. This, even after the police have made it abundantly clear that the user cannot and will not be tracked just because she has downloaded the App.
‘We encourage people to come out and report’
The user’s location would be tracked once she presses the SoS button.
Expressing concern over this misconception, Deepika pointed out that one may not have the App available when needed. How many SoS calls have been received till date? “3,03,752 SOS calls have been... however, of these three lakh calls, only 1,823 were actionable calls and the rest were test calls,” she informed.
Although domestic violence does not come under the purview of the Disha Bill, distress calls received relate mostly to domestic violence. “Of the 1,823 actionable calls received, 574 were related to family counselling,” Deepika Patil explained. A total of 221 FIRs have been filed following the calls while the rest were disposed of after counselling. But the special officer is glad.
“Disha is an initiative for the safety of women. It includes all initiatives that are for women’s safety and domestic violence against women is rampant,” she observed. “We want to encourage people to come out and report a crime. Disha App is not for reporting domestic violence but as long as it is being reported, we are glad.” Of the 221 FIRs, 57 were registered under Section 354 of the IPC for outraging the modesty of a woman (stalking, eve-teasing), 47 were booked for harassment by husband under Section 498A and 36 cases were booked under Section 509 (insulting a woman).
POLICE RESPONSE TIME JUST 5-6 MINUTES
5 or 6 minutes is the response time of police when a woman in distress calls for help using the SoS option in the Disha App. This is in urban areas. In rural areas, the response time varies from 12-15 minutes depending on the location