Guidelines relating to investigation of violence against women in India are outdated, said former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill at a workshop here Monday, adding that constantly stressing on the new anti-rape law would not solve the problem.
Speaking at a two-day workshop on “Improving Women’s Security in India” at the Habitat Centre, Gill called for strong and urgent action to stem the rising tide of crimes against women.
He warned that the exclusive emphasis on new legislation and constant clamouring for amendment of existing laws would not solve the problem.
“We have to mend police procedures, the way the police works”, he said, pointing out that guidelines relating to investigation of such crimes were outdated and largely ignored, according to a press release.
Noting international norms, techniques and technologies have gone far beyond the systems that persist in India, he said: “If we have to solve this problem, we have to change our mindsets…”
The workshop was jointly organised by the Institute for Conflict Management, which Gill heads as its founding president, and the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
BPR&D Director General Rajan Gupta, who had served under Gill’s command through the period of terrorism in Punjab, observed, “Our society gives a very high notional status to women, calling them Shakti, Durga, etc. But the cruelty against them is increasing.”
He said that the presence of women police personnel should be mandatory in each police station, but added that the mere presence of women would not, in itself, be a guarantee of better responses.
National Crime Records Bureau Director General Shafi Alam noted that there was a general and steep rise in crimes against women over the past decade, but that the rates of conviction were going down.
He noted, moreover, that in 2012, in 98.2 percent of all rape cases registered, the offenders were known to the victim or the victims’ family.
Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre of Social Research and a women’s rights activist, said that laws and procedures designed in 1861 could simply not deal with the complexities of a 21st century crisis.
BPR&D Inspector General Nirmal Kaur noted that despite the presence of women in police, the role of women had not been “mainstreamed” with they limited to a small number of tasks, but not considered equal to policemen.