A delegation of ‘I am Change’ may call on Mirji

Positive steps taken for women’s safety in Bangalore must be matched in the districts too, young people working for women’s safety in Karnataka outside the State’s capital told The Hindu.

Following the Delhi incident, in which a woman was gang-raped recently, a group of students and professionals from four tier two cities in the State are meeting B.G. Jyotiprakash Mirji, Commissioner of Police, Bangalore, this Saturday.

Greeshma Rai, Mangalore co-ordinator for ‘I am change’, a collective with a core of 11 people from Bangalore, Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli and Dharwad , told The Hindu that the group would present to Mr. Mirji a memorandum seeking the setting up of a helpline for women in distress in their cities as soon as possible.

Under-staffed

It stated that the Bangalore helpline, which was a welcome initiative, was understaffed and must be upgraded to make it more effective.

The Bangalore helpline employed four people. One glaring lacuna was that it took too long to find out from where the woman in distress was calling, and which police station should be approached.

To address this issue, along with the memo, the group would suggest ways in which technology could help identify instantly the location of the caller.

“They think the existing system is enough but it is not,” she said.

Benjamin Thomas, a technology professional the group consulted, said that technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and mobile towers could help pinpoint a caller’s location.

Such technologies were all established and in use (elsewhere).

At present, these technologies were being employed only in cases they were required. “Definitely it can be done, only people need to decide to make use of the technology,” he said.

Trisha, who works as a chartered accountant in Dharwad and is a part of the core group, said: “(As of now), no helpline exists in Dharwad… whatever measures are taken (safety steps for women) in Bangalore and Mysore must also be taken in Dharwad.”

A long wait

She said that other than the helpline, it was important to identify all possible solutions for women’s safety, especially for women in rural areas. But even in Bangalore, she said, the helpline for women asked the caller to: “Wait for 15 minutes and we will get back to you”.

Moses Raj, a student of JSS Law College, Mysore, and a part of the core group, said there must be “a parallel campaign across the state” to ensure the safety of women. “The objective is not having one centralised helpline in one city but across (the state),” he said. No minister has shown any willingness to hear out the group’s stance on the issue of helplines.

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