Bhubaneswar: In a bid to empower young women and college girls and instil a sense of security within them, the Twin City police had initiated a slew of measures. Some of those such as, ‘Pink Autos’, ‘Mo Sathi’ mobile app and self-defence training, were immensely popular among girls and the public in general. Denizens of Bhubaneswar unequivocally supported these initiatives and even suggested measures to strengthen those.
Unfortunately our system (bureaucratic or political) is a victim of professional spite. The sad irony being, a reshuffle or transfers at the top levels are followed by discontinuation of the good initiatives. It seems the Commissionerate of Police (Bhubaneswar-Cuttack) is no exception.
Whenever there is a change of guard in the Commissionerate Police, even the best practices are either withdrawn or sidelined. At a time when cases of violence and crime and women are commonplace, the need of the hour was to re-introduce and reinforce women-friendly initiatives. However, instead of promoting these initiatives and making those more robust, the services have been discontinued.
There is growing public resentment for this. “Mo Sathi was an extremely effective and useful app and I had it installed on my phone after it was launched. However, I moved out of Bhubaneswar in 2016 and returned to the city few months back. Three days back when I tried to re-install the Mo Sathi app, I found that it is not available in Play Store anymore. The Commissionerate Police app shows the Mo Sathi app icon but again leads nowhere. How can I feel safe in a city whose Police has sidelined women’s safety,” said Namrata, a journalist.
Same is the case with the self-defence training. “My younger sister received self-defence training at the Commissionerate of Police headquarters in 2015. It acted as a morale-booster, not only for her but many young girls were benefitted by this initiative. We as young women strongly believe that the initiative should be re-launched,” said Mahasweta Sarangi, a 22-year-old software professional.
The Pink Autos have faded into the oblivion. “As a student, public transport was the only option and pink autos were not only viable but also safe. But overtime they seem to have disappeared when their numbers should have been increased,”
At a time when there is outrage across India to protect women from violence and sexual crimes, many believe the need of the hour is to augment existing measures and introduce new ones to make women feel safer.