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Ban mobile phones to stop rapes, molestation: Karnataka MLAs` panel

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 00:37

Zee Media Bureau

Bangalore: Despite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s appeal to politicians that they should stop doing "psychological analysis" of the reasons behind rape incidents, chairperson of the Karnataka Legislature Committee of Women and Child Development, Shakuntala Shetty, has stoked a controversy by proposing to impose ban on mobile phones in schools and colleges to curb incidents like rape.

The Congress MLA even blamed the devices for an unprecedented rise in the number of rape incidents and molestation cases.

"The Karnataka government should direct the Education Department to impose a compulsory ban on students in schools and colleges bringing mobile phones," the Legislature Committee said.

The single-point recommendation in the report of the 23-member committee headed by Shetty, tabled in both the Houses of Karnataka legislature on Friday, is contained under a chapter under the title, "rape/missing cases of women".

"There were several instances where mobile phones were used to lure girls to remote places and rape them. Mobile phones are debasing the educational atmosphere in schools and colleges," said the panel, adding a recommendation to put a ban on mobiles.
Shetty further said girls who return `missed calls` are getting into trouble.

"We suggest that youth shouldn`t be allowed to use mobile phones till they become majors, and attain maturity. Once they realise what is right or wrong, they`ll be safe," she said in defence of the controversial recommendation.

Further citing an incident where a gang of three youths called a college girl and lured her to a building under construction, from where she later jumped to death to escape a rape bid.

The report refers to the rising incidents of rape across the country and cites, the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and fatal assault of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern as also the recent gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh, which have made "Indians hang their heads in shame before the entire world."

"We have found during our interactions that mobile is the reason behind kidnap and rape among school and college going girls," Shetty said, defending the panel`s controversial findings and recommendations.

She said "When I did go through two or three rape cases of minor girls, what they told me was that they had got a missed call and out of curiosity they wanted to find out about it and it started from there...."

"As we found several such incidents, we in the committee decided to recommend a ban on mobiles; ...It is not necessary for students, so we have mentioned that it should be banned."

In another recommendation, the committee has suggested that seminars and awareness programmes should be conducted in schools and colleges periodically as a measure to stop atrocities against women.
Other recommendations made by the committee include- installation of CCTV cameras at police stations to bring transparency in their functioning, deputing 20 per cent women police staff in each stations, setting up of additional women police stations, and separate toilet facility for women at police stations.

The committee has suggested that all police stations in the state should be made women friendly and women who approach police or those brought on some charges should be treated with dignity.

In 2012, Karnataka Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi was caught watching pornography on his mobile phone while the Assembly was in session. The footage showing Savadi watching the stuff was shot by TV cameramen perched behind in the elevated media gallery. The minister was sitting in the front row of the House. Less than an hour after the session concluded, TV channels beamed the uncensored visuals.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 17:31

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