The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said that, ‘a system will be put in place where a woman moving out of home for work would have to register herself at the police station, and she will be tracked for her safety,’ The Indian Express reported.
“A helpline number will be provided to these women, which will enable them to call for help when in distress. The government would also make it compulsory to install panic buttons in public transportation vehicles,” he added.
The Chief Minister said that the move is aimed at tackling missing cases of women in the state.
During his Monday’s inauguration speech, he pointed out that incidents of rape have reduced by 19% in the state, kidnapping by 23%, female foeticide by 20%, and sexual harassment by 14%.
Inaugurating a fortnight-long awareness programme for crime against women called ‘Samman,’ Chouhan also supported raising the minimum age for women to marry. He said, “I feel that the marriage age of daughters should be increased from 18 to 21 years. I want to make this a matter of debate, and the country and the state should reflect on this.”
Missing Women In Madhya Pradesh
Around 3,000 women are missing in Madhya Pradesh, the Chief Minister said on January 8. "In a review recently, I came to know that about 3,000 daughters are missing. How did they go missing? Where are they? I have given a target to the police to find them and bring them back," he had told a gathering in Bhopal.
The problem of human trafficking is quite prevalent in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh especially in districts having tribal populations and high poverty rates. Most of the women and children who went missing belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) or other marginalized communities.
But during the CM’s speech on Monday, he claimed that 7,100 missing girls have been traced and united with their families and efforts were underway to find the remaining missing children, according to India Today. “The government of Madhya Pradesh has decided to issue a report card to complainants in cases of missing children,” the chief minister said. “The entire investigation will be detailed in these report cards and wards would be apprised of the progress in investigations, every 15 days.”
Chouhan’s statement comes months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on the 74th Independence Day, had stated that the central govt. has constituted a committee formed by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to look into the minimum marriageable age for women.
Meanwhile, a congress MLA targetted Chouhan’s statement over his demand for a debate on parity in the legal age of marriage for women. Former Congress minister Sajjan Singh Verma on Wednesday said that ‘even a 15-year-old girl is capable of reproduction, then why to raise the age to get married.’
Reacting to Verma’s remarks, Madhya Pradesh BJP’s media panellist Neha Bagga said the MLA had insulted daughters of India. The National Commission For Protection of Child Rights on Thursday issued a notice to Verma, requesting him to “provide an explanation within two days giving reasons and justifying his intention for making such discriminatory statement against minor girls and law.”