On Saturday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy launched the state’s first Disha Police Station. Set-up in Rajamahendravaram, Disha Police station aims to protect women from sexual harassment and assaults and provide the victims with speedy justice. It also aims at protecting children from sexual harassment according to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
The Disha Act came into effect as a tribute to the veterinary doctor was brutally gang-raped and murdered in the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 26. Under this act, Jagan said in the inaugural address, 17 more police stations will be set up across the state by the end of the year. These will be Women’s Police Station dealing exclusively with crimes against women and children. The first station that has been set up is fully equipped with a counsellor, mobile kits to collect medical and scientific evidence, and caretakers for the aid of the victims. In addition to this, each Disha Police Station will be headed by DSP rank officer and have a staff of 26-47 police officers, which will mostly comprise of female officers.
The police stations will deal with all the cases under the Disha Bill, including IPC section 376 (rape and gang-rape), 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act to insult women) and POSCO act. The bill is now called ‘Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Criminal Law Act 2019’ and it has provisions for special courts, police stations, additional forensic labs and a mobile app for sending SOS alerts to the police. Apart from this, the act mandates the complete investigation of sexual harassment cases and within 7 working from the time the FIR has been recorded. It also necessitates that the trial in the case should happen within 14 days from the date of filing the charge sheet.
“Disha Police Stations will bring down crimes against women in the State,” the Chief Minister asserted.