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Punjab curfew proves dangerous for women with 21% spurt in domestic violence complaints

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Illustration by Soham Sen
Illustration by Soham Sen


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Chandigarh: There has been a 21 per cent increase in complaints of crimes against women in Punjab during the Covid-19 curfew, according to police data released Thursday. 

There were 5,695 complaints of crimes against women between 21 March and 20 April, Punjab Police said in a press statement, as compared to 4,709 between 20 February and 20 March. The state has been under a curfew since 23 March, two days before the nationwide lockdown kicked in.

The number of domestic violence complaints during the curfew period stands at 3,993 as compared to 3,287 between February and March — also a rise of 21 per cent.

The press statement quoted Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta as saying that there had been a substantial decrease in the number of complaints registered for dowry harassment, rape and “eve-teasing (sexual harassment of women)”. This, he said, was probably because people were not stepping out of their homes and there was increased police presence around the state.


Also Read: Sufficient measures taken to defend domestic violence victims amid lockdown, AAP tells Delhi HC


Number of calls increases

According to the data, the average number of calls received on DIAL 112, the emergency response helpline, had increased to 133 per day between 21 March and 20 April, up from an average of 99 in the preceding three months. As many as 34 per cent of these calls pertained to domestic violence cases, police said.

The press statement followed a video conference Thursday between DGP Gupta and the deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) associated with the crimes-against-women cell. 

It was decided during the meeting that a daily report detailing such complaints, along with the action taken, will be sent to the head office, the statement noted. The DGP added that police efforts in this area will involve coordination with counsellors nominated by the department of social security, women and child development.

Every call about crimes against women, Gupta said, is received at 112 and forwarded to district control rooms as well as the district women help desks. The women’s response team then calls up the complainants and visits the women in distress. In cases of physical abuse, a medical examination follows, he added, and criminal proceedings launched if a case is made out.


Also Read: Indian women are locked in with their abusers, but are finding new ways to seek help


 

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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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