Andhra Gets Its First Disha Police Station To Fight Crimes Against Women And Children

On Saturday, February 8, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the first 'Disha Police Station' in Rajamahendravaram city. The state government aims at setting up a total of 18 such police stations across the state by the end of the month to effectively deal with crimes against women and children and to fast-track the judicial proceedings.

Each police station will be headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank officer and will have a team of 26 to 47 police officials mostly comprising of female officers.

"It is a historic day. Eighteen such Disha police stations will be set up in the entire state, besides an exclusive court in each district to try cases relating to crimes against women and children. Special public prosecutors will also be appointed for these courts to ensure a better conviction, which also enables to strengthen the current system by four times," CM Jagan said.

Certain existing women's police stations will also be upgraded to 18 Disha women's police stations in the state.

With the present team continuing their functions, the additional staff, headed by a DSP will deal with crimes covered under the Disha Bill, including IPC section 376 (rape and gang rape), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and the POSCO Act.

Such police stations will also be equipped with facilities for women and children like a creche, waiting halls, counselling rooms and baby care rooms.

A control room to attend the calls from women in distress would be set up in these police stations, which will also be able to track the nearest emergency response vehicle and automatically dispatch it to the location of the victim, triggering a quick response system.

Disha forensic science labs would be set up with the most advanced DNA equipment, Serology/Biology Equipment, and cyber forensic tools.

A mobile application 'Disha App' has also been launched for women's safety.

A person can alert the officials by just shaking their phone when in distress and if unable to operate the phone, SOS will be sent to the Disha control room as well as their family members. The location of the caller will also be sent to the control room to take stock of the situation.

Thirteen one-stop centres are currently operational in the state for providing services to victims and survivors of sexual violence."These centres will act as the first point of contact to victims for assisting in medical examination, facilitation in the recording of statement and FIR, legal aid, social-psychological counselling and victim compensation," he said.

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 also known as the Disha Act on December 13. To punish the perpetrators who commit violence against women and to bring justice to the victims, the Act demanded an entire investigation be completed within 7 days and trial within 14 days in cases where substantial conclusive evidence is available.

'Disha' is the name given to the veterinarian who was brutally raped and murdered on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 26 last year.

According to Section 354 F of the Act, punishment in cases of sexual assault on children will range from 10 to 14 years of imprisonment. The death penalty has been prescribed as a punishment in cases of all heinous offenses of rape where adequate evidence is obtainable.

Andhra Pradesh Home Minister, Mekathoti Sucharitha, took to Twitter to praise the efforts and wrote, "To all the little girls who are in Andhra, Live without fear. Our beloved CM @ysjagan Anna Pledges with his wonderful sight for woman safety with All his Might To Be Treated Right. He'll bring you freedom of living in your own way.#YSJaganLaunchesDishaApp #DishaPoliceStation."

Also Read: Andhra Pradesh Govt Appoints Two Women Officers To Oversee Landmark Disha Law

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