Girls train in martial arts in a Varanasi school on Wednesday. (PTI)
Hyderabad, Jan. 2: The Andhra Pradesh government is thinking of teaching school and college girls the art of self-defence, including karate and judo, to fend off potential attackers if the need arises.
Home minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy also reeled off possible steps to check crimes against women, the suggestions coming in the wake of the Delhi gang rape and a day after students of Osmania University hit the streets to protest the alleged rape and murder of a law student.
Reddy proposed introducing classes in karate and judo for girls in schools and colleges from the coming academic session. “If everything goes according to plan, karate, judo and other self-defence courses will be made mandatory in schools for classes above the 8th standard from the next academic year,” she said.
The minister said chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had agreed to her proposal to make such training mandatory for schools.
“I have suggested that such training should be on a par with sports and physical education,” the home minister added.
She also proposed that helplines for women — 1091, 108 and 100 — be made more effective. The 108 service, she said, would enable people to register complaints of stalking and other forms of sexual harassment.
“These measures will boost the confidence of girls and encourage them to report any form of sexual harassment instead of suffering the humiliation silently. A moral science course will also be part of the daily timetable from the elementary level,” Reddy said.
The Andhra government’s proposals come close on the heels of Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa’s 13-point formula to ensure women’s safety.
The Andhra higher education department has already issued a memo to all colleges to appoint counsellors in their institutions to identify and address early signs of behavioural disorders.
Reddy said all police stations would also have designated counsellors to deal with cases of domestic violence. “The objective of this exercise is to sensitise people about gender issues,” she said.
Andhra police have already started deploying special squads near educational institutions, markets and temples apart from posting decoys at bus stops. “Better lighting and installation of a PCO near bus stops are also part of the new initiatives,” said DGP Dinesh Reddy.
At a recent meeting with the media, the police chief had revealed that cases of crimes against women had increased by 7 per cent in 2012 over the past few years.
The cases include acid attacks and physical violence, some of them by spurned suitors.