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#India – Lakhimpur Rape – Policing Shortfalls Leading To #Vaw In Assam

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CHRI Statement on Lakhimpur Rape In Assam

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, 28 November, 2013

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is disturbed at the alleged gangrape and murder of a woman in Lakhimpur district of Assam. The woman died due to her severe injuries. This incident, coming close on the heels of the anniversary of the Nirbhaya gangrape of 2012, has created an outcry amongst the people who are calling for strict punishment for the perpetrators.

Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative says “The police are required to prevent and detect crime and ensure a safe environment in which everyone can go about their everyday business. The facts below on policing highlight that there is a shortfall in numbers and capabilities and detection facilities in Assam. It is difficult to expect the police to prevent and detect crime in these circumstances. If this state of affairs continues, no amount of task forces and action plans for women’s safety will be able to ensure the safety of women”.

 

Facts on Assam

·         According to the NCRB report of 2012 (http://ncrb.nic.in/), Assam tops the rate of cognizable crimes against women in India in 2012 at 89.54%.

·         A 2012-2013 Survey of 1000 women by the North East Network (http://www.northeastnetwork.org/) shows 70 percent of women in Guwahati feel unsafe. This is primarily due to the lack of an effective/visible police force in the city.

·          Number of all-women police stations in Assam – 1

·          The proportion to police to population in Assam is 188:100,000 that is 188 policemen per lakh population. The UN standard for police to population ratio is 222:100,000)

·         The sanctioned strength and actual strength in Assam Civil Police and women in Civil Police provided in the table below show vacancies that need to be filled.

Vacancies in Assam Police

Sanctioned Actual Vacancy
Civil Police (including District armed police) as on 31.12.2012 32188 22292 9896
Women in Civil Police (including District Armed Police) as on 31.12.2012 587 353 234

 

  • Assam has only 1 forensics laboratory for the whole state.
  •  Actions promised by the Assam government on Women’s safety

1.    Directions by the Government of Assam, September 2013:

–       Home department directed to prepare an Action Plan on how to prevent and control crimes against women

–       State police asked to identify areas prone to violence against women and take necessary steps

2.    Task Force on Women’s Safety

The Assam government set up a Task Force headed by Additional Director General of Police (CID), Mukesh Sahay to look into patterns of crimes against women. It came out with several recommendations in its report submitted to the government on 20 September 2013. These include:

–       Women’s cell to be set up in every police station

–       Establishment of fast-track court to try women-related crimes in each district

–       Establishment of a crisis intervention center in every district

–       Establishment of an anti-human trafficking unit for every district

 

For more information contact Ms. Devika Prasad, Sr Programme Officer, Police Reforms Programme CHRI,[email protected]

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