Death as maximum punishment and chemical castration for rapists are envisaged in a 13-point action plan suggested today by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to check crimes against women as police in Jaipur decided to train girls in martial art.
Expressing grief over the death of the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim, Jayalalithaa said "the Centre will be requested to amend the laws to ensure the maximum punishment of death penalty and chemical castration for those responsible for rapes".
"The offence should also be made non-bailable," she said.
The Chief Minister said fast track mahila courts would be set up in each district to investigate sexual assault cases in the state and efforts would be taken to bring such cases under the purview of stringent Goondas Act.
"The Goondas Act will be amended", Jayalalithaa said, adding incidents of sexual assault will be treated as a grave crime and top police officials would probe them, she said.
Orders have also been issued to put in place close-circuit television (CCTV) sets in all public buildings to identify those who trouble women and police personnel in plainclothes would be deployed at market places and women's colleges to ensure safety of women, she said.
Setting up of women's helpline, engaging women lawyers and hearing of sexual assault cases on a daily basis to ensure speedy justice were some of the others measures of Jayalalithaa's action plan.
In Jaipur, police decided to train girls and women in self-defence techniques in a special drive.
In a bid to develop a sense of security among girls, Jaipur police have decided to conduct a special self-defence training programme for women and girls.
Under the initiative 'Apni Suraksha Apne Hath', camps will be organised at various colleges from January 7 to January 25 in which participating women and girls will be trained in basic self-defence techniques.
"Initially, an expert will train squads of women police and those trained cops will further impart the skills to girls and women in different institutions," Jaipur Police Commissioner B L Soni said.
Karate coach Dinesh Dabi said that enquiries for learning self-defence were pouring in these days continuously with maxium of queries being from girls and working women.
"Women and girls are enquiring about special and short- term packages for learning self defence these days," he said.
"For creating awareness about the art, we are holding practice display of useful tricks and techniquies which are vital for girls if used at the time of unexpected situation," he said.
His girl students are displaying the art at places frequented by girls and women.
Jaipur authorities also set up a helpline for women where victims of sexual harassment, eve-teasings and other such offences can report their complaints by telephone, SMS or email, Collector T Ravikant said.
"Women and girls can seek our assistance by calling or sending SMS to the helpline (christeneed Garima) number 789109111 or sending email to garima.Helpline@gmail.Com," said Additional Collector Rakesh Sharma, who is in charge of the helpline.
"We have engaged our female employees as well as volunteers from social organisations to run the helpline smoothly," Sharma added.
In Punjab's Phagwara town, police today launched a toll-free round-the-clock phone helpline for women in order to provide immediate help in case of sexual assault.
City SP Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh said a woman could dial 1091 in case of any trouble in this regard.
He said the helpline facility was functional on BSNL landlines and mobile phones.
He said that initially the existing police control staff would respond to the calls on helpline number but soon women police personnel would be trained and deployed for it.
Khakh said the identity of the caller would be kept secret.
National Commission for Women (NCW) welcomed Jayalalithaa's views that laws dealing with crime against women should be amended, saying they would help contain such violations.
"It is a very good suggestion. She has asked for harsher punishment for the accused and has also said that steps will be taken to amend the Goondas Act.
"She has also asked for setting up of more fast-track courts to deal with such crimes. If all these measures are followed there will certainly be a decrease in the crime rate," NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma told PTI.
When asked what steps NCW was taking in this regard, Sharma said that they had already sent their recommendations to the government.
"We have sent our recommendations three months before," Sharma said, adding that it takes time to make changes in the law.
"Law is not something which can be changed in one or two days. It needs to be discussed in Parliament," Sharma said.
The NCW chief, however, said it was more important to implement the laws than enacting them.
"You can not just get away with framing of laws, it is more important to implement those laws.
"There are demands for chemical castration. People have also been asking for capital punishment. But that is for the Parliament to decide. My only concern is that a serious law should be enacted which would act as a deterrent so that such crimes are not repeated," she said.