Four days before Hathras incident, UP DGP wrote to officers that sexual crimes were making women feel unsafe

New Delhi: Just four days before the alleged gang rape at Hathras, the Uttar Pradesh police chief had written to senior officers saying repeated incidents of sexual crimes and murder of the victims were making women feel unsafe and also spoiling the image of the state police.

ET has accessed director general of police HC Awasthy’s September 10 letter, in which he had stressed on prompt filing of FIRs and arrests in such cases “to win the confidence of the victim’s family”. The five-page letter also stressed on “impartial probes” and pointed out that the anti-Romeo squads set up by the UP Police were not working properly.

In the Hathras case, the police have been accused of a shoddy probe, late arrests, and filing a FIR that lacked rape charges despite the victim’s claim. Several local policemen were later suspended for their handling of the case.

“You are aware that heinous crimes of sexual harassment followed by murders have taken place in various districts. As per respect given to women under Indian culture, there is a need to effectively stop such incidents. Due to such crimes, the women community feels unsafe and public anger against the police rises as well. Such crimes are condemnable and they affect the image of the police among the public. There is a need to stop such crimes with an effective policy to instil an atmosphere of security among women,” the DGP had written.

The DGP said female constables should be deployed in good strength in the anti-Romeo squads and a sustained campaign be run to reduce crimes of harassment of women and “build a sense of self-confidence in them”.

He also suggested that police patrolling be done outside schools and colleges and in parks, and a special vigil be kept through policemen on motorcycles as most accused indulging in sexual harassment use motorcycles. Also, he said taxi drivers involved in such crimes be barred from driving Ola and Uber services.

The DGP said woman help desks be activated in all police stations and female personnel be posted as sentries from 9 AM to 6 PM.

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