Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Government has informed the High Court that 16 cases of rape and 64 incidents of molestation were reported during the lockdown period in the Union Territory.
According to report, submitted by the Social Welfare department,16 cases of rape, 64 cases of molestation and one case of eve teasing have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir during the lockdown period.
As many as 1314 calls have been received from the affected persons on the emergency number 181 from 24th March, 2020 to 24th April, 2020, out of which 65 are related to violence against women, the government submitted.
The remaining 956 calls were reported by migrant labourers, who were in distress on account of the lockdown, it further said.
As per the government, Rs 10 lakh for each district of UT of J-K has been sanctioned out of SDRF fund for COVID-19 containment for victims of domestic violence for providing temporary accommodation, food clothing, medical care etc.
“Additionally, the department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR) Government of J-K has issued directions to all the Deputy Commissioner for designating 10 beds in each District Quarantine Centre exclusively and accessible for victims of domestic violence in the J-K,” the High Court order reveals.
The High Court has directed the government to consider notifying appropriate spaces so that women in difficulty have easy access to them. “Women in distress would not have easy access to the Anganwadi Workers. Ease of access has to be a primary concern for notifying an authority, especially in the urban areas.
It may not be correct that women as a rule would be uncomfortable in making a complaint against the violence to male members of the society. It is essential for the Social Welfare Department to consider ease of access of the women in distress, as a basis for notifying the authority,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal observed.
“So far as designation of informal safe spaces for women for reporting domestic violence/abuse without alerting the perpetrators is concerned, the Social Welfare Department has informed that it has notified Anganwadi Workers for the reason that women/complainants would not be comfortable in expressing their personal issues with the male members of the society.
We had cited the example of grocery stores and pharmacies in foreign countries being notified as such safe spaces for the reason that every family is accessing grocery stores and pharmacies even in the lock down period,” it further observed.
The Court also directed the department of Social Welfare and member State Legal Services Authority examine the requirements and steps necessary to mitigate the complaints and difficulties of victims of elderly abuse; child violence; violence against disabled and transgenders in the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh.
“A report of measures in place; steps under way and those contemplated regarding them be placed before us before the next date of hearing,” the Court directed. (KNO)