National Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey requesting to activate the unutilised Nirbhaya Fund aimed at ensuring women’s safety and helping women in distress. She stated in the letter that a fund of Rs 195 crores has been lying unutilised since the previous BJP government.

She later took to Twitter and posted a thread where she wrote, “A letter to this effect was handed over to CM Uddhavji Thackeray by MLA Vidya Chavan and Aniket Tatkare, with a request to form a high-level women’s committee for this.”

Also read: Nirbhaya Fund And Its Shoddy Usage Garners Sharp Criticism

In her tweets, she detailed the initiatives that were supposed to be taken place under the Nirbhaya Fund but didn’t as the previous government kept the funds. “After the Nirbhaya Rape Case – then-incumbent Union Government had started the Nirbhaya Fund for ensuring the Safety and Security of Women. Accordingly, a one-stop centre, helplines were to have been started,” she tweeted.

“However from 2014 – 19 – Maharashtra State Government did not utilise 195 Crore Fund sanctioned for this,” Sule added. “Requested Hon. Uddhav Thackeray Ji to bring a Law which would ensure a Fast Track Court be set up in the case of crimes against women.”

Sule also urged for the state police to investigate complaints lodged by women or their families (pertaining to atrocities like rape, molestation), and the fast track courts to conclude the hearings within 90 days. She also wrote that the Supreme Court must dispose of the cases within 90 days as well to ensure speedy justice to women survivors.

Sule also sought a response from the previous government led by BJP’s Devendra Fanavis in its failure to utilise the fund allocated to safeguard women.

Also read: #NirbhayaRapeCase: SC Dismisses Convict’s Review Plea

Earlier this year in February, a parliamentary panel Standing Committee strongly criticised Nirbhaya funds being used for construction purposes. It also said that such utilisation virtually defeats the very purpose of the project – women safety.

In her tweets, she detailed the initiatives that were supposed to be taken place under the Nirbhaya Fund but didn’t as the previous government kept the funds. “After the Nirbhaya Rape Case – then-incumbent Union Government had started the Nirbhaya Fund for ensuring the Safety and Security of Women. Accordingly, a one-stop centre, helplines were to have been started,” she tweeted.

“I have not seen the proper utilisation of the fund. Using the Nirbhaya fund for constructing buildings is wrong. It does not matter that the fund was called Nirbhaya Fund but it was institutionalised for safety and security of women and prevention of rape but even five years later, the government has not made use of it appropriately,” Asha Devi, mother of Nirbhaya told SheThePeople.TV in an earlier interview with her.

The Nirbhaya fund was set up in view of the heinous gang rape and murder case of a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy on December 16, 2012. The brutality with which the crime happened shook the entire country and also grabbed international attention. In wake of the outrage, the then-government led by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) set up the Nibhaya Fund of Rs 1000 crore.

Picture credit: The Print

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