CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that various initiatives like pink protection, Aparajitha and 'nazhal' have been implemented to ensure safety and security of women in the state.

A panoramic view of the Assembly with the Speaker at one corner and a few rows of MLAs seated on the other sideImage Courtesy - Sabha TV
news Assembly Monday, October 04, 2021 - 15:58

A grand speech on the steps taken for women’s safety in the state, a row over the discussion of a political party’s stance on its women students’ wing and a walkout by the opposition over admission issues of plus one students filled the first day of the third session of the Kerala Assembly. Days after the murder of a female student in a college campus and in the wake of increasing attacks on women in Kerala, questions were raised on the steps taken by the government in ensuring women’s safety. In reply, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that various initiatives like pink protection, Aparajitha and 'nazhal' have been implemented to ensure safety and security of women in the state.

More than half of the question hour time was spent by the Chief Minister in answering this question. He said that some recent incidents where women were killed due to failure of love relationships were "heinous acts" and should have never happened. The CM said that more efforts needed to be made by the police to keep track of movements of those men, against whom women have made complaints after failure of relationships.

Counselling and awareness programmes are also necessary to discourage people from resorting to such revenge tactics, he added. Awareness programs on equal rights, gender equality and safety of women are being conducted, he said.

CM Pinarayi spoke about Aparajitha, where women can make online complaints about domestic violence, dowry harassment or any offence committed against them. The complaints can be made on the site or via e-mails sent to aparajitha.pol@kerala.gov.in or by calling on the helpline -- 9497996992. Besides that calls can also be made to the nodal officer, the Pathanamthitta district police head, appointed under the project on 9497999955.

Read: Women in Kerala can raise domestic abuse complaints via ‘Aparajitha is Online’

He further said that if any woman is unable to make a phone call, she can press the power button of her phone thrice and a distress message will be automatically received by the police control centre which will immediately call back and speedy assistance will be provided.

For dealing with issues of domestic violence or dowry harassment, Domestic Conflict Resolution Centres have been set up in all police stations, he said, and added that the number of women police stations have also been increased in the state.

Row over Haritha

The Chief Minister then said that political parties and other organisations also have a major role to play in ensuring women’s safety and changing any wrong notions about them in the minds of society. There was a row over the bringing up of the issues of Haritha – the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’s women students’ wing – in the Assembly. After the name of Haritha was mentioned, the opposition led by Congress said that it was not proper to raise the internal affairs of a political front in the Assembly. Opposition leader VD Satheesan said that such a precedent has not been there and such questions should not be asked.

The CM, without mentioning the name of Haritha, said that political parties and organisations should avoid giving a wrong message to the society by indulging in anti-women actions.

Watch: Row over Haritha in Assembly

Haritha – the women’s wing of the IUML’s student organisation Muslim Students’ Federation (MSF) – had recently been in the news when its members raised complaints of harassment against some MSF leaders. When Haritha members went to the Kerala Women’s Commission with the complaint, the IUML dissolved the state committee and later announced a new one, retaining only one member from the previous team – who hadn’t signed the complaint against MSF leaders.

Read: Understanding the ‘Haritha moment’: The gendered turn in Kerala’s Muslim politics

Walkout over plus-one admissions

Member of Legislative Assembly Shafi Parambil moved an adjournment motion on the issue of plus one admission in the state, with a number of students who finished class 10 exams even with good scores unable to find seats. The government is not providing enough seats for the students, said the Congress MLA. General education minister V Sivankutty gave out figures, saying that there will be excess seats once the second allotment was over. However he ruled out adding more batches to accommodate the excess students this year. There were 4,65,219 applicants in all and seats have been increased in seven districts. The opposition criticised the minister’s reply and said that it hid the crisis faced by students and parents. They staged a walkout when the adjournment motion was not allowed.

Read: Crisis in Kerala plus one admissions shows what's wrong with the current system

(With PTI inputs)

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