Sonia Gandhi launches Nirbhaya project in Kerala, expresses concerns over crimes against women

15th Feb 2014 Sonia Gandhi at Kochi, KeralaSonia Gandhi launches Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam project in Kerala.

Kochi: Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched ‘Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam’, a Kerala Police project to ensure women safety, in Kochi on Saturday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and several other senior party leaders were present at the function held at St Albert’s School ground.
While striking an emotional chord with the people of Kerala, Sonia Gandhi said, “Kerala has always been a leader in the empowerment and emancipation of women. The women in Kerala are the best educated in the country and have the best access to health facilities. They enjoy equal rights in inheritance”.
She also praised the Congress-led UDF govt in the state and continued, “Under the leadership of Chief Minister Sh. Oommen Chanddi, the UDF government has launched and implemented a number of programmes for the empowerment of women, like for instance, the Kutumbashree and Janashree. These are the programmes that have been replicated by other states after seeing the success of these programmes in Kerala” and also sent a warning signal, “And yet, crime statistics shows alarming and raising level of violence against women – rape, molestation, dowry harassment and domestic violence. Many young women complain not feeling safe at the public places in the dark, in the evening at night”.
“I also congratulate the Kerala govt for deciding to open six new all-women police stations in six districts of the state from 1st March, this year. This, I believe, is a commendable step, but I would stay, it is a first step. At present, I am told, women represent just 5 per cent of the total police force in Kerala. I take the liberty of asking the Chief Minister and our Home Minister to ensure that it is definitely doubled in two years and reaches 25 per cent in five-year time. This will add to the effectiveness to the Nirbhaya project initiative” said Sonia Gandhi.
“My great regret is that we are not yet able to pass the Women Reservation Bill in Parliament for lack of consensus even though it has been adopted in Rajya Sabha; however we shall continue our fight till we finally get that bill passed in the Rajya Sabha” said the Congress President.
“It remains a matter of deep anguish and pain that the atrocities against women still continue in our country. I need not to remind you the shameful happening in Delhi by which it agitated the entire nation, rightly so. Such atrocities are tragically repeated all over and all too often those go unreported and unpunished. It is a matter of grave and continuing concern that trafficking women and discrimination against the girl child still persists and that female foeticide still widely prevalent even in a number of economically prosperous states”, further said Sonia Gandhi.
The project includes forming women volunteer groups, strengthening existing mechanisms to counter human trafficking and abduction, awareness programmes against law violation, training for all on ensuring women safety, protection and rehabilitation of women and children, strengthening police intervention in crimes against women and implementing novel facilities for women in public places.
District women squads will be formed with 10 members in panchayats, 30 in municipalities and 100 in corporations. The squad members will be called Nirbhaya volunteers and will be provided uniform, badge and identity card. Around 12,000 volunteers will be selected state wide. The local-level Nirbhaya volunteer’s organisations will have members of self-help groups. The volunteers will be assigned with patrolling during day and night and helping police to prevent atrocities against women.
Full text of the speech of Smt. Sonia Gandhi at the launch of Nirbhaya Keralam, Surakshitha Keralam project

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