The Telegraph
Thursday , August 28 , 2014
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Domestic Violence Act scores zero
- DGP’s police-public connect initiative addresses women’s issues

Ranchi, Aug. 27: Jharkhand has not registered a single case under Domestic Violence Act, a startling fact that emerged at the fourth DGP Aap ke Dwar programme in Ranchi on Wednesday at a time when the state is shocked by the Tara Shahdeo case.

Called in full the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) and brought into force by the government of India in 2006, it protects women from actual abuse or threat of abuse that can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic. The woman needs to share a household with the abuser as his wife or “in a relationship in the nature of marriage”, by consanguinity (blood relationship or kinship) or adoption. The abuser’s family members living together as a joint family are also included.

In a state where closed-door crimes against women such as dowry torture, wife-beating, forced abortion of female foetus, abandonment or illegal second marriages are rife, the lack of even one case under Domestic Violence Act is shocking.

More shocking is the reason. As it emerged during the flagship police-public connect programme between 11.45am and 1.30pm, where DGP Rajeev Kumar at Dhurwa state headquarters in Ranchi interfaced with 24 districts via videoconference, police personnel either don’t know about the Act or were clueless on imposing its sections.

Sitting with the DGP at police headquarters, woman cop Sampat Meena, who happens to be IG organised crime (CID), conceded the poor enforcement of the Domestic Violence Act in Jharkhand.

As DGP Kumar, sitting at police headquarters found out during his live video interfacewith superintendents of police (SPs) and women complainants in districts, ignorance and conservative mindsets were the biggest blocks.

Sangita Kumar, Koderma SP, told the DGP that they attempted to solve marital problems through counselling to avert broken homes.

When the DGP asked her about the number of FIRs filed in 2014 that were related to crimes against women, she replied: “Twenty. They concern domestic violence related to dowry and others.”

When Meena asked the Koderma SP if they imposed Domestic Violence Act on the cases, she admitted they “didn’t have much awareness about it”, but was “working to train her staff now”.

“All SPs should be asked to impose the Domestic Violence Act to give the victim immediate relief,” Meena stressed.

DGP Kumar reviewed the situation in Giridih, Ranchi and Godda, among other districts to find that the situation was the same.

Complainants sitting at the offices of respective SPs at the districts, who were willing to speak, raised issues of eve-teasing and harassment. Some criticised the rudeness they encountered at police stations.

A Ranchi victim taking part in the videoconference from the Kutchery office of SSP Prabhat Kumar, shared with the DGP her experience with city police. “My husband faked his identity and tortured me,” she said. “The police revealed my identity to the media without my consent,” she said.

Reacting strongly, DGP directed all SPs to ensure confidentiality of the female victim’s identity and requested the media to act responsibly and sensitively in these cases.

“Ignorance on Domestic Violence Act is a serious issue. We will organise sensitisation programmes from now on,” he stressed.

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