The predominant surface wind is expected to come from northwest direction on a speed of 12-15 kmph making things better for the residents of Delhi.
DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal recently visited violence-hit Manipur where sexual assaults against women showed an ugly face of the society. In an exclusive interview with The Statesman, Swati Maliwal calls for the need to strengthen the country’s resources to take up the fight against crimes against women.
Recently you visited Manipur, what are your key observations?
Manipur is burning right now. There are 60,000 people who have been displaced, hundreds are missing and several people have been killed. Cases of horrendous sexual assaults in Manipur are getting buried in official records. Around 6,600 FIRs have been registered in a short span of three months, even when FIRS are difficult to register.
I went there to meet the victims to hold their hands and support them and find out for myself if they have received any kind of support. We went to Churachandpur where there were constant firings. I met a survivor’s mother and husband and they cried and cried and told me that none of the government officials, including the chief minister, or cabinet minister, have met them and no compensation or comfort had been provided to them. There are cases like this across Manipur. We came across a case where a 24-year-old girl was gang-raped and allegedly murdered in Imphal. An FIR is yet to be registered.
Such cases are coming up again and again and should be dealt with very seriously.
I have given an in-depth report to the President and the Prime Minister of the country where I have made over 24 recommendations. One of the major recommendations is to impose President’s rule in Manipur and to make sure that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Minister visit Manipur and take steps.
What changes do you think can be made to strengthen the system for women in Delhi?
In Delhi, 6 cases of sexual assault are reported every day. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) is handling all of them. Immediate support is being provided. This includes ensuring that FIR is registered, making sure that the medical inspection is done well, and in courts too, our lawyers are present to assist the survivor during the trial as well.
What steps are needed to strengthen and aid the survivors of ghastly crimes?
Firstly, the resources of the police need to be strengthened. Secondly, the accountability of the police needs to be worked on. The case of Anjali Singh was the first case after the Nirbhaya case where action was taken. Forensic Department needs to be strengthened so that there is a certainty of punishments.
More courts and judges should be appointed for a stronger legal framework to get justice for survivors.
Another concern is that the government must be seen with the survivors. Ram Rahim is a convicted rapist yet he is let off at every opportunity. So, strong support must be shown by the government siding with the survivors and not the rapists.
Q. What suggestions would you like to give to the women who are not able to come forward to raise their voices against their sufferings because of societal pressure?
A. I would really like to appeal to every woman and even man in this country— if you are facing any kind of sexual violence or exploitation, come forward with courage, it is the first step. If today one woman does not speak up, tomorrow someone else might have to go through it. So it is a moral duty not just to yourself but to society to take the fight forward. They can call on women ‘s helpline 181 in Delhi and there are helplines for other states as well. They can also write to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How does DCW help in case of calls that are received from other states?
A. An immediate call is made to the Superintendent of Police to help the caller. A lot of calls are received by DCW where victims have not received help or are unaware of their state’s helplines. So the team immediately responds and assists in communication with the state involved.