TRIPURAINFO

OVERCOMING THE MENACE OF CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IN TRIPURA

Arindam Nath

THE ISSUE 

1.1 "There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women", it's an excerpt from the autobiography of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai titled, 'I Am Malala'. We find the echoing of her quote in the Indian mythology, which glorified women as the mother, the creator, one who gives life and worshipped her as a 'Devi' or Goddess. 

1.2 Contrary to this glorification the Indian women found themselves totally suppressed and subjugated in a patriarchal society, though male crime against women (CAW) is worldwide phenomenon. Thus, the United Nations General Assembly had to adopt a Declaration in 1993, on 'crime against women', defining it as 'any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life'. My native state Tripura, which is my work-place as well, is also not free from this menace. It had earned the terrible distinction of the second highest rate of crime against women in India per Lakh populations in 2012. This article emphasizes how Tripura Police is encountering this menace.

PESTELOP
 
2.1 In India crime against women like Rape, Kidnapping, abduction, Homicide for dowry, Dowry death or their attempts, mental and physical tortures, Sexual Harassments etc are dealt under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). There are Gender specific laws like Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act etc to address the issue. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) secures the right of children.

2.2 Tripura had faced a phase of insurgency spreading over three decades. Our focus in those days was largely containing insurgency and Tripura Police achieved success in this regard. But, in the process normal basic law and order issues like controlling crime against women probably have been ignored. The statement on CAW in Tripura is as under: 

2.3 As per NCRB, MHA statistics available up to 2016, in respect of crime against women Tripura's position is as under: 

 
The alarming trend has been checked but still, a lot to be achieved.

2.4 Gender discrimination including physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence, son preference, unequal resource distribution, unequal decision-making power etc is less in Tripura. At the National level we find an adverse Child sex ratio.  The ratio of female child to male child (0-6 years) has depleted from 945: 1000 in 1991 to 914:1000 as per 2011 census. In respect of Tripura the ratio is 960: 1000.

2.5 In the aftermath of the "Nirbhaya" case in 2012 New Delhi Justice Verma was appointed Chairperson of a three-member commission. The panel made ten major recommendations concerning Punishment for Rape, Punishment for other sexual offences, Registering complaints and medical examination, Marriages to be registered, Bill of Rights for women, Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Police reforms, Role of the judiciary and Political Reforms.

2.6 The following steps have been taken:
 
  1. Creation of Fast Track Courts. 

  2. Engagement of more women advocates as Special Prosecutors.

  3. Increase of women representation in Police. 

  4. Monitoring all of CAW cases.

  5. Instilling confidence in victims.

  6. Fixing Tenure of police officers.

  7. Introduction of new techniques in investigation.

  8. Monitoring performance of public prosecutors.

  9. Shelter for victims.

  10. Implementation of Domestic Violence Act.

  11. Adoption of Tripura Victim Compensation Scheme. 

  12. Surveillance on Hotels, Guest Houses, The Tripura Victim Compensation Scheme and Beauty Parlors.

  13. Check on bunking of school classes.

  14. Enhancement of representation of women activists in Tripura Commission for Women.


RISK ASSESSMENT

3.1 The registration cases related to the crime against women in the state is quite high. The following reasons may be attributed as under:

? Awareness in the society.

? Easy accessibility to police/administration.

? People friendly policing.

? Failure of command structure within the family/society.

? Lack of tolerance level.

? Expectation for justice in the court.

? Zero tolerance against non-registration of CAW cases.

? Women empowerment.


3.2 At present, there are seven Women Police Stations in the state run by women police officials. All the other 70 Police Stations have Women Help Desk apart from eight lady Deputy Superintendents of Police (Dy.SP) for the supervision of investigation of heinous cases of crime against women in eight districts. There are 70 women Sub-Inspectors and 1181 women personnel in Tripura Police, out of a total strength of 10,066 making the representation of women police slightly over 11.73%. 

3.3 Safety and security of the citizens in a country are guaranteed by the law of the land. The police personal ensure that the law is properly followed and if not done so, the offenders are taken into account. But the duty of the police becomes easier and their level of efficiency and success reach newer  and  greater heights  if people or the citizen co-operate with  the police and participle  actively  in preventing occurrence of crime through community policing. Accordingly, the community policing program of Tripura Police 'PRAYAAS', meaning efforts was launched on the 1st January, 2011. The 'PRAYAAS' provides a platform for 24 X 7 liaison between police and Public for improving the service delivery of Tripura Police.

RESOLUTION 

4.1 In a democratic nation the main strength of the country is its people, its citizen. A democratic state provides all basic rights and privileges to its citizen including security so that they can prosper and in turn allows the country to flourish. In this regard, our major Strengths, Weakness, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are described below:

4.2 Strengths:

  1. For six years at a stretch, crime against women cases in the state are on decline.

  2. The dowry death cases are still few. In respect of rape and kidnapping, a majority of cases are consensual and these results in happy ending in the court. Similarly, the violence level in molestation and harassment cases is significantly low and sometimes cases are lodged for settling other scores.

  3. The state has a good cultural heritage and good administrative system. The natives of this place have still a good family bondage and broken families are less. It serves as an umbilical cord for innumerable technocrats, physicians, intellectuals produced by this soil and presently staying in other parts of the globe. Everybody is equally concern over the issue.


4.3 Weaknesses

(i) The literacy rate of Tripura is 93.91% as per 2011 census but still the extent of crime against women is very high.

(ii) The conviction rate in crime against women cases is hovering around 30% and less than the national average.

(iii) Poor road, rail and air connectivity added with other constraints sometimes create major problem for police in apprehending offenders. After committing crimes they take shelters in other states and even in neighbouring country Bangladesh.


4.4 Opportunities:

  1. The community policing scheme of Tripura Police is giving good dividends and it should be further strengthened. Optimum use of Police Beats.

  2. The present state government has adopted a comprehensive Victim Compensation Scheme. It will certainly create a good rehabilitation for the victims of violent crimes against women.

  3. Tripura has elected self governments at Panchayat, Nagar Panchayat, Municipality, Corporation and other levels with 33% women reservations. The services of these elected women members may be utilized for addressing the issue. 

 
4.5 Threats:
  1. The advancement of technology and easy access to mobile and internet have made our people, particularly women and girls vulnerable for cyber crimes and sexual abuses including other related issues.

  2. Drug trafficking and use of NDPS articles have become big menace in Tripura. It is emerging as a major threat, as large number of youths including girls are becoming drug addicts. The rehabilitation facilities have also not come up.

  3. The sexually transmitted diseases are also on the rise.


RECOMMENDATIONS 

5.1 Our efficiency lies upon the prevention of crime and bringing the criminals in to the task of laws. The police act as the primary component of the Criminal Justice System, which is in vogue in our country. The other components of the Criminal Justice System are the Judiciary and the Prison. For preventing crime the Community Policing scheme 'PRAYAAS' is still found to be the best.

5.2 Conviction of accused persons in any case of crime against women acts as deterrent. As such, we are giving emphasize on the following:


? Refresher course on investigation for the Investigating Officers (IO).

? Team of officers: for prompt detection and better monitoring of investigation in all sensitive cases.

? Emphasis on use of scientific aid in investigation.

? Strict implementation of Pairavi (persuasion) system.

? Strengthening manpower in Police Court for trial monitoring.

? Emphasis on custody trial of all heinous crimes.

? Proper co-ordination/ regular interaction with Public Prosecutors (PPs) and Assistant Public Prosecutors (APPs) and judicial officers.

? Monitoring cases on active trial from District Headquarters.

? Sensitization to the IOs on the importance of Pairavi.

? Meticulous analysis of Judgment order and corrective measure to overcome lapses in investigation.

? Follow up of trial calendar.   


IMPLEMENTATION 
 
6.1 Dealing with crime against women including domestic violence is different from normal crimes. It requires active support of the family and the local community in order to be effective. Tackling these issues requires looking beyond the traditional approach. As such, opening of women police stations, women help desks, deployment of more police persons including women police personnel and their training are undertaken.

6.2 In addition, the following steps have been adopted:

? Total 510 Police Beats have been created and made functional.

? Toll free 'Women Help Line 1091' throughout the state.

? Counseling the victim and husband wherever applicable to mitigate petty family dispute.

? Increase the Conviction rate in CAW cases by Pairavi and trial monitoring, apart from ensuring custody trial.

? Refresher training of IOs for improving the quality of investigation. 

? Judgment analysis for suggesting the corrective measures to rectify the loopholes in investigation.

? Involvement of IOs for effective implementation of Victim Compensation Scheme.




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