The “Nirbhaya Scheme” initiated with the help of central government to ensure the safety of women and children in the highly literate society of Kerala will be inaugurated by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on 15th February. According to the project plan, every Panchayath/local self government will have 10 Nirbhaya volunteers each. These volunteers will make frequent visits to the houses where lone ladies, widows and old aged lives. They will make a check to know their well being and if required get police aid.
The government of Kerala has sanctioned 7.5crore rupees towards this programme. As per the new scheme, local bodies, Jagratha Samithis and Kudumbasree will be at the core of grassroots interventions related to prevention, identification and rescue. They will also take responsibility for the rehabilitation of cases of sexual violence and sex trafficking.
Jagratha Samithis, under the Kerala Women’s Commission, at panchayat/local self government level will be the core committees for implementing the Nirbhaya programme. In addition, there will be district Nirbhaya committees and a state level coordination committee which will closely review the status of the programme and monitor the functioning of local bodies, departments and institutions.
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu
Good News for women, a new system for the safety of women is to come soon in our public transportation system! Central Government has approved the plans to establish CCTV and GPS system inside public transportation facilities like bus, train etc for the safety of women. Rupees 1405 crores have been earmarked for the establishment of this project.
The aim of this project is the safety of women. The system will assist in reaching help to women in danger. A fund named “Nirbhaya” was established in memory of the girl who died after the cruel gang rape inside a running bus in Delhi in December 2012. The Nirbhaya Fund is finally utilised with the implementation of security systems inside the public transportation, this project will be implemented in 53 cities in two years.
During the first phase of this project, the security systems will be established in 32 cities and later on in 21 cities. Let’s see how far this project is going to help women in the future!
We Malayalees seem to have an uncanny knack in choosing only the not so desirable traits of western culture by conveniently turning a blind eye to the virtues of their life style. For instance, not many of us in Kerala think that is necessary to stand in a queue while boarding a bus or follow the road rules on a day out unlike our Western counterparts. However aping their dressing style and fast food styles are some of the many things that come naturally to Keralites. The Westerners dress in jeans to beat the severe cold and when we blindly ape this dressing style, we not only put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but also make a mockery of ourselves in the hot and humid Kerala weather.
Many feel that the outrageous dress sense of girls has played a big role in pushing up the women abuse cases in India in recent times. The fact that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes in itself shows the vulnerability of women in the modern society. Modesty of women is at stake at work places, public parks, railway stations, bus stops and even inside their own homes.
Here are some handy tips for women to prevent rape
- Scream for help, seek public attention and get way from danger immediately.
- Defend yourselves with pepper spray ; learn martial arts steps like karate for self defence
- Avoid dimly lit spots, isolated areas and small alley ways
- Be alert to what is happening around you; do not use headphones while on road.
- Dress modestly and make sure that you wear clothes that do not attract unwanted attention from men .
- Use your cell phone as a safety tool to remain connected with your family, friends or even the police if the situation warrants.
- Do not accept money, sweets or snacks from people you do not know. It could be laced with sedatives.
- Do not share personal information with people whom you meet online or during trips in a train or in public places. There is never a good reason to meet up with a person whom you have never met in person.
- Walk confidently so that it may put off the stalkers on the prowl looking for soft targets.
- Never accept lifts in cars or bikes from people you do not know.
- Last but not the least, mothers can play an important role in teaching their daughters to dress sensibly and fashionably without being obscene from a young age.
As the rising instances of rape and abuse against women is snowballing into a major social issue, it is high time that women stay alert to ward off the risks and to remain safe and secure.
Though it might sound a bit weird, there seems to be a connection between meat eating habits of Keralaites and the surging instances of rape in the State going by the opinion of the Arya Samaj scholar Swami Agnivesh.
If it is true, Kerala has a sound reason for worry. With the state’s meat production shooting up at a staggering 342 percent increase in the last 1 year and booze flowing freely, there is every reason for the women in Kerala to be on their guard. However, Criminologist James Wadakkamcherry reiterates that the rape cases in Kerala have infact dropped slightly in recent times.
Though there is no proper research data on meat and its effects on libido, there is a common notion that rape cases are more prevalent in meat eating communities. However statistics prove that Madhya Pradesh which leads in juvenile rapes in the country is one of the lowest meat-consuming states in the country. Rape cases are also reported from countries like Saudi Arabia where there is a blanket ban on liquour.
As opinions and counter opinions continue unabated , many gourmets have come up with solid facts to support that meat eating has nothing to do with libido. Most of the aphrodisiacs that are sold in the market are made of green leaves and roots of herbs like ginseng, safedi musli and ashwagandha.
No matter whether this discussion will bring down the rape cases or not, the fact remains that rapists can never be just meat eaters or boozers, but are mentally sick patients who need counselling and treatment.
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If everything goes off as planned, the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Keltron) would be launching a ‘Central Monitoring System’ (CMS) in a few months time. It is a novel project to bring all establishments including government offices, banks, shopping centres and business firms under the surveillance of security cameras in a month’s time.
Thought to be the first-of-its-kind in India, this project would cost the exchequer around Rs 20 crore, in which over one lakh cameras will be installed in various locations within five years. The expenses will be met by Keltron and the project is likely to be implemented in January next. To make use of the system, the firms will have to pay a fee, which ranges from ₹ 2000 or more, which will help Keltron to recover its investment on the project. The cameras will ensure round the clock monitoring from an exclusive control room, which would be set up in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
Keltron is hoping to rope in around 10,000 customers in five years. In a firm there will be one to 10 or more cameras depending on their surveillance needs. Anything shady that is caught on camera will be immediately passed on to the concerned police stations. The camera monitoring would not just ensure the safety of the establishments but will also be helpful in bringing down incidents of burglary and other crimes. Other add on security features like glass breaking sensors will also be installed along with the cameras. Those companies that have already installed surveillance cameras, will also have the choice to be covered under the Central Monitoring System. The proposal, which is in the final stages of implementation is awaiting the approval of the government.
Cochin, the emerging business capital of Kerala has a floating population comprising of people from various parts of India and even abroad, which could make it a target for unlawful activities. Though Malayalees have so far only come up with instances like kidnapping on reel screen and not real life, the possibilities when this familiar scene in many Malayalam movies can become a threat in real life too cannot be ruled out.
In an innovative method to stall such a remote possibility three engineering graduates have developed an easy downloadable software for android phones. The trio Doney P Dev, and his friends Rizwin Azeez Naina(TechLead) and Mahesh J Nair, who has set up their own independent company, August Info Solutions has come up with the Hello Kerala software that can automatically locate the nearest police station to where you are and send an sms to the mobile number of the police station thereby alerting them instantaneously. The sms will have all the details like location address and even if the mobile number does not work, the number will be immediately sent to the cyber cell.
The beta version of this handy software that was developed in about 4 months can be downloaded from the internet for free from Google Play. In a short period of over a few weeks it has received tremendous response from the users and the team might consider developing an advanced pro version depending on the response. The biggest advantage of the software is that even though the system works on Google maps and Global Positioning system, it can still work on phones without an internet connection. In the pro version, the software will be developed for Blackberry and I Phones apart from those with Windows Applications. In addition Hello Kerala will also provide details like roads, hotels, airports, tourist destinations and the events list of the State, making it a useful directory of all the essential information.
So, next time when you think you are being stalked or being targeted by kidnappers, don’t panic. All you need to do is to simply use this powerful tool to ensure police assistance right away.
The harsh reality and the bitter experiences of real life will soon give way to the glitz and glamour of the reel life for Geevarghese , an inmate of Central Prison, Poojappura. This 62 year old ex-serviceman hailing from Pathanamthitta, Kerala was convicted in a murder case seven years ago, which brought him to the prison. Though he regrets the crime that he did in a fit of rage, he accepts the verdict whole heartedly as he believes that there can’t be justification for any crime.
Now a reformed and contented person, Geevarghese is all set to make an entry into the film world soon. He nurtured his passion for reading and acting during his free time in the prison, which has paid off handsomely by earning him a wonderful break in his life. K M Madhu offered him a role in his movie after seeing the performance of Geevarghese in a television show of prison inmates. With adequate support from the prison authorities, Geevarghese is hoping to grab the limelight soon. The Prisons ADGP Alexander Jacob has given his assurance to do everything possible to help Geevarghese fulfill his dream of being an actor.
Nonetheless, this is not going to be the maiden venture by any prisoner because an inmate of the Central Prison has already made an appearance in the much acclaimed movie ‘Mathilukal’based on the novel of Vaikom Muhammed Basheer of the same name. The tryst with film celebrities is not something new for the jail inmates. Rajesh who was a child actor in the famous film Meesamadhavan is also serving a life sentence here in what could be termed as a twist of fate.
It is interesting to note that recently Poojapura Jail inmates also got a rare chance to be part of an audio launch of No.66 Madurai Bus, a Tamil movie produced under the banner of M’wood movies. The director of M A Nishad chose this rather unconventional venue for the audio launch and the crowd comprising mostly of the prison inmates could not have asked for more. The presence of the Tamil actor Pasupathy and actress Mallika made the function extra special for the inmates. The actor struck a chord with the inmates by making an empathetic speech in which he dedicated the movie to all the inmates’ families, who he said might be facing more isolation from society for no fault of theirs.
Thus, if the innovative movie project starring Geevarghese gets underway it will be yet another novel chapter in the history of Poojapura prison and its inmates, who have always been in news for many innovative initiatives. From flori culture to chapathi making and poultry farming, they have excelled in many novel ventures and film acting could well be the newest feather in their caps.
Being a democracy, every Indian has the right to protest against unfair practices and injustices. However calling for a hartal at the drop of hat is not something that goes well with any literate society like that of Kerala. It is paradoxical that tomorrow’s call for hartal by the CPM is to protest against the arrest of one of its leaders for conspiring in the murder of an activist of another party! Gone are the days when hartals used to be a powerful tool to protest against the atrocities in the society ; now it has become more of a tool for arm twisting and intimidating the people. Apart from the loss of manhours and business revenue, hartals will throw normal life off gear. Tourists will be stranded in what they thought was a God’s own country, leaving the message that it can be a devil’s world too at times! Patients suffer for want of medical aid, exams and job interviews will be postponed and marriage arrangements will go hay wire for many a couple.
Afterall , downing the shutters for a day and being forced to remain indoors will not bring any magical cure for the ills that plague our society. It seems that the time has come to hold a ‘hartal against hartals’, to protest against the innumerable shut downs that we have to endure. Kerala has been punished by a spate of regional issue-based hartals in recent times in addition to the countless nation-wide strikes called by various political outfits. It is high time that the political parties come out with a practical solution to register a protest without harassing the hapless common man. How about working overtime to highlight the grievances as in the case of Japan? :P)
The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram woke up to the gory news of the brutal killing of a woman by her husband in a residential colony in the city limits last week. Apart from being another instance of domestic abuse, this incident is a wake up call of the changing live styles of Kerala. It is shocking to note that the cricket crazy neighbourhood preferred to ignore the distress calls of the dying woman as they they were deeply engrossed in the keenly fought cricket match that was being telecast live at that time. By the time the match got over and the neighbours stepped out, it was too late and the convict had escaped the scene after committing the ghastly crime. The fact that this unfortunate incident involving a hapless woman has to happen in March , as we celebrated woman’s day, reiterates the fact that violence against woman continues unabated even today.
The community living culture has set off many new social issues and challenges in the Kerala society. Relationships have lost their relevance and reverence as people preferred to recoil into their private domain. Though people live close to each other than before, the distance between them has only increased manifold. Often people who stay next to each other do not know each other and don’t bother to help in times of distress. Many accident victims lose their precious lives on Kerala highways for want of timely medical help as people who like to be curious onlookers shirk away from the responsibility of taking them to the hospital probably because of the legal hassles involved.
It is paradoxical that Kerala, which takes pride in a high literacy rates has undergone an erosion of social values and culture as its populace indulge in the mad chase of money and power. If knowledge does little in fostering empathy and love for fellow human beings, it is high time that we reconsider our priorities and practices!
The poojapura central jail in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, which houses some of the hard core criminals convicted in various criminal offenses is grabbing headlines for all the good reasons these days. The commercial chappathi making unit in the jail premises, which started functioning recently has already become a huge hit and a profitable venture.
The prison inmates of Poojapural jail are engaged in making soft and tasty chappathis in hygienic conditions, which are sold through the outlets at the Poojappura central jail premises and Attakulangara jail premises. Priced only at Rs. 2 per piece Poojappura Chappathi is sold out in no time as there is a huge demand for these tasty chappathis that are delivered fresh off the pan at unbeatable prices. At present over hundred inmates are involved in chappathi making and they are overwhelmed by the positive response from the customers.
Chappathi making is turning out to be a profitable venture like its gardening and horticulture activities, which had been tried out successfully in the jail premises earlier. Everyday about 16,000 chappathis are made daily and they have already made a profit of three lakh in a span of only a few months.Encouraged by the tremendous response for the chappathis, the prison authorities are planning to launch vegetable curries too in the market. By directing the prisoner’s time and effort in a constructive manner, the jail has become a trend setter in tapping the tremendous man power potential.
Everyone is born good; villains emerge due to the environmental influences and their upbringing and it is never too late for them to come back to goodness as this success story of Poojapura jail inmates would prove!