Shillong, Sept 19: Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and the minister in charge of the home department informed that the district with the maximum number of crimes registered from 2020 to 2023 is East Khasi Hills District, with a total of 5,196 cases.
He mentioned that steps have been taken by the government to control crime in the state. Steps taken to tackle crime against women are like a women police station that has been set up in 11 district headquarters of the state, One Stop Crisis. Centres for providing services for violence-affected women, including police facilitation, legal counselling, psychosocial counselling, medical aid, and temporary shelter, have been set up in 11 districts of the state. Several other steps have also been taken by the government, as mentioned by Tynsong.
The response of the home (police) department minister was made during a question hour raised by Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem in the Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Syiem raised his concern on the statement made where the number of cases of crime against women and children has increased only in a span of three and a half years, close to 2,821, whereas the prosecuted number of cases is 84.
“We have seen that, apart from different initiatives taken by the government to nab the culprits and book them and chargesheets, still fewer cases have been prosecuted,” said Syiem.
Syiem sought an assurance from the government to fastrack the investigation and fastrack chargesheet and, at the same time, to have a consultation with the judiciary for a fastrack conviction of all these cases registered.
“I appreciate the concern of the member and he has rightly mentioned that reaching to the stage of prosecution and conviction takes a lot of time and it really looks very discouraging. However as far as chargesheet is concerned police dept are all out to complete whole process of chargesheet and submit to court for final disposal of each chargesheeted cases,” informed Tynsong .
He also assured the House that the police and the government will not sit idle on this issue and that they will pursue the matter and ensure that the procedure in court has to be completed within the timeframe.
Syiem also raised the question in the states lack of well equipped forensic lab that is in place where samples have to be sent outside the state and time taking. “what’s the status or the capacity of the present forensics lab we have in Shillong and what are the steps taken to improve the facility so that we can have a fastrack investigation and conviction,” questioned Syiem.
Tynsong informed that presently the government has created a separate directorate on forensic labs, and now the functioning of this directorate is independent and controlled by the home department. Recently, a few proposals have been submitted to the government by the directorate for strengthening the function of this department. The government has approved the proposal submitted by the directorate, and we have a few important instruments that are required to ensure that cases pending are fast tracked and that those tests are no longer needed to be sent outside the state and done here itself.
A. To tackle crimes against women:
1. Women Police Stations have been set up in 11 (eleven) District Headquarters of the State.
2. One-Stop Crisis Centres for providing services for violence-affected police including police facilitation, legal counselling, sycho-social medical, medical aid, and temporary shelter have been set up in 11 (eleven) districts of the state.
3. Women Help Desk to facilitate crime reported by women and children has also been set up in various police stations across the (CSU),.
4. Crime Scene Unit (CSU) comprising of experts from the State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the Finger Print Bureau (FPB), has also been constituted to assist the Investigating Officer, especially in cases relating to Crime against women and children.
5. Dial 112, the National Emergency Response System (NERS), which deals with receiving distress calls, has been set up.
6. An app for women’s safety known as Meg-Cop-Watch has also been launched in East Khasi Hills District.
7. Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTU) have also been constituted in 11 (eleven) districts to rescue victims of human trafficking.
8. Community Liaison Group (CLG) has also been constituted at the crimes level for awareness on POCSO and Crimes against women cases.
9. Special juvenile Police Units have been set up in all District Headquarters.
10. Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Organisation of Meghalaya Police has formed an Expert Panel for monitoring crimes against women and children.
B. To tackle the issue of drug menace, the following steps are taken:
1. Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) has been set up in all the Districts of Meghalaya for checking and preventing Drug Trafficking within the State. The help and support of the local Dorbars/Communities/NGOs is sought to strengthen vigilance in the vulnerable areas prone to drug menace.
2. Awareness campaign against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking through various Social Media handles of Meghalaya Police as well as the District Social Media handles is being carried out. Under the “Nasha Mukt Bharat Pakhwada” a total of 1263 awareness programmes were held in the year 2023 in the State.
3. Meghalaya Police has acquired 4 (four) numbers of Narcotic Sniffer Dogs posted at Dog Squad K-9 Unit, Shillong.
4. District ANTFs and the Narcotic K-9 Unit are conducting regular surprise checking of vehicles along the National Highway as well as in cities and towns and suspected places to prevent Illicit Trafficking of drugs.
5. Training programs on Drug Law Enforcement for the Officers of Meghalaya Police (ANTF and the District Police) are being held every year at Police Training School (PTS) and CID Headquarter, Shillong for capacity building.
6. The Government has invoked the provisions of The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PITNDPS) Act, 1988 for detention of habitual traffickers of NDPS in the State and Advisory Board under this Act was notified accordingly.
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