The Mahila Mitra concept is a social movement aimed at empowering women. This platform gives us a vast scope with high potential for more stakeholders to join hands, said City Police Commissioner Goutam Sawang.
Addressing a meeting organised to launch the Community-Led Action Programme by Police (CLAPP) for Women’s Safety in Public Spaces, jointly by the Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) and the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care in partnership with the Vijayawada city police, Mr. Sawang said the scope of the Mahila Mitra was left undefined, deliberately so it could evolve as a potent force that could contribute towards creating a safety network for women in this region.
Explaining how difficult it was for the police to be present everywhere all the time, he said this constraint had led to the birth of the concept that envisaged community policing engaging stakeholders from various walks of life at different levels of society.
Making a difference
Moving away from the traditional role, the department had embarked on this drive essentially to adopt a holistic approach to the issues prevailing in society. The Mahila Rakshaks, an arm of the Mahila Mitra, had started making a difference by reforming a large number of eve-teasers some of who were assisting the department personnel in curbing the malady, he said.
Stating that the department wanted such socially aware forces to be present in streets and public places across the city, he said only then the police interventions would become meaningful. “We would like to see the presence of Mahila Mitras in educational institutes and large apartment blocks where members of these groups can weave a safety network in their respective areas,” he said.
Gabriel Hons-Olivier, Public Affairs Officer from the U.S. Consulate, Hyderabad, said violence against women caused damage to society as a whole as it triggered a chain reaction. Citing the disturbing data relating to gender-based violence, he said the need was to raise awareness among people at all levels. VMM president Chennupati Vidya, secretary G. Rashmi, CEO and founder of Chennai-based PCVC Prasanna Gettu, management consultant M.C. Das and others were present.