With the cases of women abuse on the peak from last few days, the centre has asked all the states to take every possible step for the security of women, saying that it was the highest priority of the government.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla wrote a letter to all states saying that the letter is in wake of the incidents of heinous sexual offences against women and girls reported recently.

“Safety of women and girls is a high priority for the government. While the government has taken steps to strengthen legislative provisions to deal with such offences in a stringent manner, for effective deterrence it is imperative that the police is easily accessible and is able to deal with any complaint on crime against women in a timely and pro-active manner,” the Bhalla said.

He also mentioned that various advisories sent by the home ministry to the states to ensure the security of women.

Bhalla also said that the Home Ministry on May 16, 2019, had requested all states and Union Territories to ensure strict compliance with the provision in law to file ‘Zero’ FIR in the event of a cognizable offence, including sexual assault on women.

“It had also been reiterated that failure in this regard by any police official is a punishable offence. States and UTs were also requested to undertake refresher courses for police personnel on this essential aspect,” the home secretary said.

As per the advisory, it is necessary to ensure that police personnel are much more responsive and sensitive in handling complaints of crimes against women and girls.

“I would also like to draw your attention to the facility of Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) portal available to the police in your state and UT. ITSSO enables every state and UT to monitor completion of investigation in serious sexual offences in the prescribed two-month time period,” it said.

It is to be noted that the ITSSO is based on Crime and Criminal Tracking and Networks System (CCTNS) and the utility of this tool has been adequately highlighted to the states and Union Territories by the ministry.

The ministry has also asked all the states and UTs to review their capacities, identify gaps, and take action for the modernisation of their forensic science laboratories. It also asked them to deploy e-Forensics, and other capacity-building activities to ensure that these laboratories retain operational independence.

(With inputs from PTI)