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Highlights 2020
Shedding light on perspectives for safer cities in a year of pandemic

From an online interview series in the midst of the pandemic to a report and study on policing - the attention is on safe cities.

Barriers in Accessing Justice

In October 2020, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in collaboration with the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives and Hanns Seidel-Stiftung released a joint report highlighting multiple barriers faced by rape survivors in seeking registration of their complaints by the police.

Titled ‘Barriers in Accessing Justice: The experiences of 14 rape survivors in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’, the report documents case studies of police refusal and failure to register complaints of survivors of sexual violence, each survivor’s journey in pursuing remedies, and the final outcomes. It draws on interviews with 14 rape survivors across seven districts of UP and with caseworkers and lawyers providing support.

At the online launch of the report, Shobhana Smriti, a Dalit activist from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, affirmed, “Survivors are not heard by the police even when they go to the police station. The police’s attitude is not at all sensitive towards them.”

Vrinda Grover, a Supreme Court lawyer, said, “Women know the law and want to use it, this is a positive change. The problem is the police’s lack of recognition of rape as a criminal, violative act, and the importance of centering sexual assault laws within a gender rights frame. The 14 cases in this report show that the criminal justice system is completely broken.”

Find the full report here, in Hindi and English. An interview with the authors on the issue and their work to improve accountability can be found here.

Pandemic Policing

Janaagraha in collaboration with HSS conducted a study on “Policing in Bengaluru, during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The aim of this work was to systematically research and create an evidence-based picture of policing during the time of COVID-19 from the perspective of citizens, police and Civil Society Organisations in Bengaluru. Despite criticism by media, one significant finding is that police was perceived to have done well. In the study, officers give some insight into how they were prepared to handle their tasks during the outbreak.

The overwhelming sentiment arising out of this research is a fundamental positive shift in how the police and policing in Bengaluru are perceived, since the pandemic has hit.

For more information, download the report


Pandemic has made citizens feel more positive about the police: Study - The Hindu

Discussing safe city issues from home

A new format that developed during the lockdown was the HSS Safe City Series. In expert interviews, topics directly related to the pandemic were discussed, focusing on vulnerable groups and the work of the police in cities. In subsequent Q&As, the audience was able to ask questions to the experts, resulting in lively online seminars of HSS India. Find out more below: read about each episode and re-watch it.

India is the biggest hub of Human Trafficking in Asia. A study by the National Crime Report Bureau showed considerable increase in trafficking from metropolitan cities. On occasion of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Hanns Seidel Stiftung India interviewed two experts on this problem.  Together with Brinda Adige, human rights and social activist and Dr. P.M. Nair, former IPS officer, India’s leading expert on the topic, the Foundation explored the background of Human Trafficking and how it can be fought today.

Re-watch the first episode here on Facebook.

India’s nationwide lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic had critically dislocated its migrant population. Sudden loss of work and habitation had caused India's biggest migratory movement since independence, exposing bottlenecks in India's federal structure. HSS India interviewed  Mr. Chandan Kumar of the Working Peoples' Charter  and shed light on the situation of the migrants and learnt what policymakers can do to improve it.

Re-watch the second episode here on Facebook.

Duties of police in the pandemic are unpredictable, most demanding and often in the realm of the unknown. The Covid-19 outbreak has thrown innumerable challenges before the police and public alike. WeThe episode discussed the challenges faced by the police first-hand with Superintendent Ms. Rohini Katoch (IPS), Karnataka State Police.           

Re-watch the third episode here on Facebook.

As women in India continue to assert their right to safe cities, public spaces, movement, economic and political participation, HSS India interviewed Ms. Kalpana Vishwanath, founder of safetipin, on how to make public spaces safe for women and what these safe spaces mean to women in a male-dominated society.

Re-watch the fourth episode here on Facebook.