Cong pitches for police reforms

Demands for death penalty for rapists and sweeping police reforms, including 50 per cent all-women police stations, reverberated during the discussions at Congress chintan shivir coming in the backdrop of the barbaric Delhi gangrape incident.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh noted suggestions from the members for around 30 minutes at the session on women empowerment, which was skipped by Mr Rahul Gandhi.
Participating in the discussion, Union minister Jairam Ramesh rued that out of 15,000 police stations in the country, there were only 400 women police stations and 40 per cent of these are concentrated only in Andhra Pradesh, which brings down the ratio further in other parts of the country.
While Mr Ramesh demanded that the number of women police stations should be 50 per cent of the total, which comes to 7,500, AICC leader Praveen Davar suggested that instead all police stations in the country should have at least 25 per cent women in constabulary and in officer category. A number of participants, mainly the women members, raised the demand for capital punishment to rapists in rare cases. Young Maharashtra MP Priya Dutt said that the Congress-ruled states should set an example by enacting a policy for protection of street children and women without shelter as they are most prone to sexual harassment.
Ms Dutt also wanted separate treatment to women issues concerning rural and urban areas saying there is no generic solution to the problems and there is a need to address them specifically.
The other day, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had participated in the discussions asking mothers to teach their sons to respect women at home and in neighbourhoods.
Making a strong pitch for police reforms, Mr Anil Shastri said that politicians should be included when any such commission is set up to bring police reforms as they are more connected to people in comparison to retired police officers. Union minister D. Purandeshwari was also critical of Mahila Congress for not taking up the issue of Delhi gangrape promptly and said initiative should have been taken much before others raised it.

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