The Bold Voice of J&K

Women safety

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The Uttar Pradesh Government’s move to introduce anti-Romeo police squads to check harassment of women in public places and make them safe and secure is a welcome move. Socially, such steps were there but the influx of social media and reach of mobile phones have made this section of the society more vulnerable to mischief-makers. The immediate breakout of moral policing no doubt must have created a scary situation for the youngsters though one cannot rule out police excesses also. The real question remains about the outcome of the drive, and, more so, what comprises women’s harassment. It is not just the catcalls outside the college or using mobiles. Community policing cannot be parcelled out into anti-theft, anti-snatching or anti-vandalism squads. It is a rounded exercise carried out by a beat constable who walks his territory all day, instilling confidence among the residents, gaining a personal rapport, and absorbing ‘social intelligence’ on anti-social elements. Checking women’s harassment is part of community policing and has to necessarily reach everyone. Any meaningful change can come only with a change in the patriarchal attitude that is promoted by the extremely conservative leadership among all communities. Here in Jammu and Kashmir situation is not that bad as in UP but women commuters do face hardship while travelling in public transport. At times it becomes difficult for women, particularly college going girls, to travel through public transport as the fear of someone trying to act ‘smart’ always exists. Women face it almost every day. But nobody dares to speak. The overcrowded buses are becoming a safe haven for predators to harass women. It’s not only the young girls who are facing sexual harassment in buses, house makers and working women too face the same. Perhaps BJP Government in UP is only seeking easy pickings before the 2019 election. Just as demonetisation, these drives address people’s desperate need for “some action” about their real problems, whether or not the solutions are real.

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