The Rachakonda police in Hyderabad have issued an advisory to women about precautionary steps to be taken while travelling, in light of the recent rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian in the city, which has sparked outrage across India.
In a statement, Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said that the woman should inform either her friends or family members about the travel and share their location if possible. If the mode of transport is a taxi or an auto, the Commissioner suggested that the woman should share the details of the driver along with the number plate.
"Get to know about the route while going to an unfamiliar place. Always wait in crowded areas and in illuminated areas and not in isolated areas. Never hesitate in calling a police patrol car or patrol bike for help. They are for your safety and security," the advisory stated.
Asking women to be ready to dial 100 if needed, the Commissioner also suggested that they could download the Hyderabad police's 'Hawk Eye' app.
"If you are in a helpless situation, please shout and run towards a crowded area. Together we work to prevent crimes. Inform local police about local bad hats (anti-social elements)," the advisory stated.
"In case you want to send some pictures for verification, you can send them via WhatsApp at 9490617111," it added.
Though the safety instructions are welcome, the 'suggestions' are nothing that girls and women don't already know. Besides, the Hyderabad police needs to address the laxity of its force in not being proactive and taking missing complaints seriously. In the vet's case, the police personnel took hours to take the complaint, citing jurisdiction, and even suggesting that she must have eloped with someone.
Police on November 29 arrested four truck drivers and cleaners for the gruesome crime, which sent shockwaves across the country and evoked huge public outrage. Protests were held in several parts of the country to demand death penalty to the accused.
The crime, which took place at the outskirts of Hyderabad at around 9.30 pm on November 27, has also highlighted the issue of women safety in public spaces, with many demanding that concrete steps be taken to prevent such an incident from recurring.
The accused trapped the woman by deflating one of the tyres of her scooty and offering to help her fix it. After killing the woman, the accused carried the body in a truck, to dump it near Shadnagar town, about 28 km from Shamshabad, and burnt the body.
A magistrate in Shadnagar town on Saturday remanded the accused to judicial custody for 14 days. They were later shifted to Cherlapally jail in Hyderabad.