THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Perumbavoor rape and murder case might be an isolated incident. But it throws light on the complete failure of the Home Department in implementing the much-hyped ‘Nirbhaya Keralam Surakshitha Keralam’ project in the state.
The project was launched with much fanfare after Ramesh Chennithala assumed office as the state Home Minister in the early 2014. However, it eventually landed in soup allegedly owing to the apathy of the authorities, as well as fund crunch. Incidentally, none of the officials and the ministry took interest in reinstating the project for the sake of the safety of women in the state.
In fact, ‘Nirbhaya Kerala Surakshitha Keralam’ was launched in Ernakulam district on a pilot basis based on the rise in crimes against women reported there in the state. The department had recruited several women volunteers to ensure round-the-clock safety for women, but all of them left the project after no intimation came from the government side for starting the project.
Nirmalakumary, a former Nirbhaya volunteer based in Kochi, said that they had hinged a lot of expectation on the project when it was launched.
“Of course, we were interested to work for the project and we had attended an initial training programme, both physical and mental, to combat attacks on women. In fact, we were ready to work, irrespective of time. But the project failed to take off and many recruited volunteers had to leave disappointed. We are still ready to co-operate with the project if the government reconstitutes it”, she says. Sources say that none of the various police departments, including women’s cell, women’s helpline, women’s police station and special branch can promise any solid steps to ensure the safety of woman.
‘Fund Crunch Hit Project’
Home Secretary Nalini Netto admitted that the project failed to take off in time. “Though the project was launched in 2014 by recruiting around 99 volunteers in Ernakulam alone on a pilot basis, it never took off owing to fund crunch. However, the Nirbhaya project is still on under the Social Welfare Department”, Netto said.