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Women cells at police stations

Guwahati, Dec. 6: Police stations in Assam will be redesigned to make them women-friendly.

Additional director-general of police (administration) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told The Telegraph that the state police have asked the Assam Police Housing Corporation to review the design of police stations to create space for accommodating separate womenís cells.

He said the basic idea was to separate the womenís cells from the rest of the police stations and equip them with all necessary facilities so that women could go there without any hesitation and report crimes committed against them.

The setting up of these cells is expected to make legal procedures and grievance redressal easier for women.

Mahanta said it is being done in accordance with chief minister Tarun Gogoiís Vision 2016 for Children and Women, where he has specifically mentioned setting up of womenís cells in all the police stations in the state.

During his speech at the chief ministersí conference on internal security held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi in June, Gogoi had announced that his government was committed to establishing a womenís cell in every police station by 2016.

Even a task force constituted by the state government to study the pattern of crimes committed against women in Assam had recommended creation of womenís cell in every police station to expedite investigation of crimes against women.

According to womenís rights activists, since the police force remains male-dominated, women fear to approach police stations to report crimes, especially those where they are the targets.

Lady police officers trained to address womenís issues will be posted at these cells.

Mahanta said for this purpose an additional 135 posts for women police personnel were created and the recruitment process would begin shortly.

Of a total of 318 police stations in Assam, womenís cells have already been created in 30 police stations but they donít have a separate enclosure or room.

The primary objective behind setting up of such cells at each police station is to ensure better safety and security of women by checking crime against them.

The move has assumed importance, as there had been a spurt in crimes against women in the state.

Assam reported the highest rate of crimes against women at 89.5 per cent last year, compared to the national average of 41.7 per cent.

There were 1,716 cases of rape, 3,360 cases of kidnapping and 140 cases of dowry death in Assam registered in 2012.

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