The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government launched Mission Shakti programme as an initiative to improve women safety in the state and sensitise the police and residents of UP towards women’s security. Under the same programme, now all police stations in Uttar Pradesh would have to set up a glass room for women complainants to register their complaints before women police personnel. Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath said the setting up of a secret glass room in police stations across the state would help women complainants to speak freely to women police personnel.

There are a total of 1535 police stations in UP and a women help desk is present in mostly all police stations. All these initiatives are a part of the ‘Mission Shakti’ campaign that has been started in UP to ensure women safety.

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All helpline numbers- 1090, 181, 112, 1076, 1098 and 102 will be displayed at the help desk and glass rooms so that women complainants can call for help when it is needed. The help desk will be equipped with CCTV and a computer and there will be seating arrangement for police personnel and the complainant.

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Adityanath said that respect for women should be instilled in people and Mission Shakti programmes should be organised in educational institutions across the state.

Question to ask is that will glass rooms and other such initiatives be the answer to sexual violence against women in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Many districts report rape incidents on a daily basis. There is not just gendered violence but caste based violence is rampant in the state. One wonders if a protectionist approach is the answer to creating a safer environment for women?

Should there be campaigns to train men to behave? In Lakhimpur Kheri, in Hathras there was been cases after cases of men, often upper caste men, using their powerful position to rape young girls. How can this be fixed with a transparent glass rooms?

The UP government’s roll out includes creating ‘tradition’ in schools through morning assembly prayers and cultural events. The chief minister spoke to women teachers, police personnel, representatives of voluntary organisations as well as people’s representatives at the women’s help desk at police stations located in Gautam Buddha Nagar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Meerut and Agra districts.

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