AMARAVATI: After being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had given utmost priority to women's safety. Speaking at an event last year, he was proud to announce that Andhra Pradesh is the only state in the country that is giving the highest priority to the safety of women and appointed a woman- Mekathoti Sucharitha as the State Home Minister.
During his two-year rule, YS Jagan has not compromised over Women's security and the state government’s effort to walk the talk on women’ safety and their empowerment, saw the promulgation of the new Disha Act, a law aimed at curbing violence against women. This was the first time such a law was ever enacted and the framework was also emulated by other states including Maharashtra.
Unlike others, the Chief Minister knew that it was not enough to just formulate laws and it was also necessary to set up the infrastructure required to enforce them.
To enforce the Disha Act, 18 Disha police stations have been set up across the state and public prosecutors have been appointed. It is the first of the 18 Disha police stations promised under the Disha Act to fast-track the trials of crime against women. The state witnessed the first Disha police station set up within three months of passing the new law, the remaining police stations will be set up by the end of the month.
Along with police stations, the Disha App was developed by the technical services division of the AP Policee. The Disha app when downloaded has an option where an alert to the Disha control room can be sent just by the press of the button. The app also provides another way of calling for help - they can also press a button on the phone, but in emergency situations, if that is not possible, the victim can send an alert to the police by simply shaking the phone five times. The personnel at Disha control room in turn will alert the police available near the spot. Police will rush to the spot using GPS-equipped vehicles and assist the person in trouble or anticipating trouble.
An exclusive control room for distress calls from women has been set where the GPS console will track the nearest emergency response vehicle and automatically dispatch it to the spot. The cameras on the vehicle will shoot videos that can be used as evidence during the trial.
This apart, 900 Disha patrol vehicles were launched specifically to patrol for the protection of women. In addition, 18 integrated crime scene management vehicles have been deployed at the crime spots to gather evidence. There are 700 Disha help desks operating across the State.
The Government had taken steps to set up special Disha courts and had stood by for women's safety by launching the Disha app.
ABHAYAM Passenger App for the safety of women and girls travelling in cabs and autos was launched. More than 12 lakh women in the state have downloaded the Abhayam app. Patrolling vehicles are ready at all times to protect them which can be done just by the click of the SOS button.
The AP government has stepped in to curb the recent rise in cyber crimes against women. Around 50 cyber kiosks across the State have been set up to protect women from cybercrime.
IAS officer Dr Kritika Shukla, along with IPS officer M Deepika were specailly posted as Special Officers, DISHA Act by the AP Government. Kritika Shukla played an important role in drafting the Disha Act and the GO for the implementation of the framework under the Act.