Udupi: A heated meeting of the expert committee on preventing sexual violence against women and children made officials uncomfortable and silenced the deputy commissioner together with the superintendent of police for ignoring facts and failing to provide police escort and air-conditioned car.
The committee which was chaired by MLC V S Ugrappa and other members including MLC K B Shanappa, MLC Sharanappa Mattur, MLC Motamma, remained unconvinced of the facts produced by the district administration countering their stand taken on the progress of the district.
Reviewing the health department, V S Ugrappa lodged a striking attack on it saying the administration was not effectively addressing heath issues concerned with women and children in the district. DHO Rohini was quizzed over ultrasound machines operating in the district. The DHO replied that 130 machines were operating in the district and were monitored thoroughly, but dissatisfied by the answer Ugrappa asked the DHO for details of inspections and detailed facts and figures triggering a frantic search for files by the DHO. Raged by the lack of preparation, Ugrappa said, “The figures should be on your finger tips.”
Deputy Commissioner asked to remain silent
Deputy Commissioner R Vishal elaborated the questions asked to officials. Displeased by this act, the committee said that the DC gave an impression of trying to come to the defense of the indefensible. As the arguments continued, the DC was asked to remain silent by Ugrappa.
Ugrappa also accused the district administration of trying to ruin a case in Karkala.
Two youth asked to stay out
District Superintendent of Police Annamalai K countered V S Ugrappa on the establishment of committees in every police station according to the Vishakha guidelines. Annamalai said that a committee was formed in the district police headquarters and no other committees were formed. Two youth present at the meeting applauded stating that they liked the way Annamalai presented the point. This enraged Ugrappa again. Annamalai apologized on the behalf of the two youth, who were asked to move out by the deputy commissioner.
In his strong rebuttal, Annamalai said that complaints could be filed in a central place where the complaints were addressed and all around India, only one committee was formed in each district’s headquarters.
Women and Child Department, Social Welfare Department lack of humanity
A Social Welfare Department official was questioned over the literacy rate of SC/ST students. When he urged the chair of furnishing the report after obtaining the extracts from his office, an irate Ugrappa said that the district seems to be lagging behind in development as governments schemes are not reaching the people.
Directing his statement towards the Women and Child Development department, Ugrappa said, “If you cannot help them under one scheme, help them under another scheme. Have some humanity. I have no power, otherwise all of you would have been under suspension today.”
Since the committee has no power, they could not issue suspensions. But this was not a threat, he added.
Police Department Verses Ugrappa
“Are you following the Vishaka guidelines? Have you read Vishaka guidelines?” questioned Ugrappa to SP Annamalai K. Annamalai replied that he was aware of the guidelines and are following it by forming a committee headed by Woman ASI, support women staff of SP Office and a representative from Dharmasthala Gramaabhivridhi Yojane. Ugrappa countered question him as to why the guidelines had not been followed in the DySP’s office and other police stations.
Annamalai replied that at an all India level, a committee is formed only in the district headquarters and that the committee had already been setup. Angered by the SP’s reply, Ugrappa asked him, “Is this a way to answer Mr. Annamalai?”
The district administration is doing enough for us, want the government to act more, says Kajol of the transgender community.
Ugrappa was then silenced by Kajol who said that the district administration has been addressing all issues brought up by the transgender community but the community expected the government to be more active on their issues. “There are transgenders in Bengaluru. Why are they deprived of facilities?” added Kajol.
At this, Ugrappa defended the government saying that the district administration could only act because the government had formulated policies, to which Kajol rebutted saying the district administration has worked effectively.
Ugrappa later asked the district administration to address the core issue of Udupi’s shrinking sex ratio, which is 1000 males for 1094 females. A principal said that migration, postponement of marriages and others factors lead to this trend.
MLA Vinisha Nero, Vasundhara Bhupathi, Prabha N, HR Renuka, ZP CEO Priyanka Mary Francis, Special Officer Shivananda, Women Commission Member Shyamala Bhandary and others were present.