The girls and women do not feel scared while moving alone on roads or travelling as they feel their bodyguard in the form of ‘Awaaz Do’ (SpeakUp) application is always with them.
S Sengathir, currently Additional Director General of Police (Security), during his year-long tenure as Inspector General of Police Ajmer Range from January 2021-22 came up with an idea of starting a campaign’ Awaaz Do’ that is helpful for women and girls, thus launched this app in August 2021. The objective of ‘Awaaz Do/SpeakUp’ campaign was to empower women, to provide them security, to make women aware of the laws related to them, to strengthen the registration system of crimes and to bring down atrocities against women.
The SpeakUp app can be downloaded from the Play Store on any android phone and it has a provision of making free calls. On using this app, the live location of the spot of the incident reaches her guardian, concerned police station area and the concerned police control room. The police immediately gear up to help the victim.
A few months ago, a woman from Jaipur was travelling to Tonk in the Roadways bus at night. A youth travelling the bus started molesting her. The woman was aware of this app, so she called the control room. She was assured that soon she will get police assistance. After some time, police contacted her and found that the youth had come to know that the lady had informed the police so he got down before the Tonk Roadways bus stand. The lady told the police she was fine and did not want any further action by the police.
This app so far has been downloaded by more than 10,000 people and a total of 1779 complaints including 461 from Ajmer, 726 from Bhilwara, 325 from Nagaur and 267 from Tonk were received till December 31, 2021, and were resolved.
Under this campaign, 10 teams in each district have been formed in which female constables have been given priority. People in villages and students in schools and colleges were made aware about this campaign in the entire Ajmer range through folk poetries, street plays, dramas, poetries, puppet shows and songs in Rajasthani and Hindi languages, dance, music etc. Awareness was carried out at various places through vans.
In this ‘Awaaz Do’ campaign, case officers were appointed by selecting 115 cases of POCSO and atrocities against women lying pending in the courts and in 18 cases the accused were punished. Two culprits were sentenced to death, five to a life term, seven culprits were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, one each to 10, 7, 5 and 3-year imprisonment.
Similarly, 80 women police personnel were trained as master trainers to further impart training to girls with self-defence techniques in educational institutions. Till now, more than 9300 girls have been trained including 560 in Ajmer, 530 in Bhilwara, 366 in Nagaur and 1882 in Tonk.
Complaint boxes were put at education institutions in this campaign. The girls studying in schools and colleges can put their complaints and problems in this box. Every week, these boxes are opened by the concerned beat constable and give the same to the concerned Station House Officer. One such complaint was received in the complaint box, in which a student of a residential school in Tonk district had mentioned sexual exploitation with her seven-year ago. Police lodged a case against Vishal resident of Todaraisingh under section 376B and 5M/6 in POCSO Act. Many such complaints were received through the complaint boxes, on which investigation is being done.
The women are being made aware about the women helpline number 1090 through posters and pamphlets at bus stands, railway stations, schools and colleges, factories, places where labourers gather, MGNREGS sites and others places. The number has been pasted in city buses, auto rickshaws, private buses and jeeps in which the women travel.
Ritu Soni, a student from Bajarwada Nagaur said, “I have downloaded the SpeakUp App and it appears to be an effective weapon for the security of women. I have asked women and girls nearby by my house to ensure their security by downloading this app.”
Similarly, Madhu Choudhary, PTI, Merta City (Nagaur) said that this campaign has provided support to women and girls and they have gained confidence.
This campaign has brought positive changes including the image of woman constables in the range has changed with their excellent efforts in this campaign; reduced the gap between the women/girls and police and has built an atmosphere of terror among the culprits. A book on ‘Awaaz Do campaign’ was published and a copy was presented to the Chief Minister.