In 'unsafe' Maha, govt wants to arm working women with tasers, pepper spray

Women

The Maharashtra government today submitted to Bombay High Court a proposed set of guidelines to ensure safety of women who work late night and commute alone, which includes a recommendation that women be given personal

safety gadgets such as pepper spray by the employers.

Women working between 7 PM and 7 AM should be provided with car pick-up and drop facility with security personnel and trained in self-defense, besides giving them personal safety gadgets like tasers and pepper spray, the government proposals stated, among other things.

The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode had yesterday said while private firms are bound to ensure the safety of women employees working late hours, the state should come up with some guidelines for the firms.

The court's remarks came during the hearing of the death confirmation appeals of Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade, who have been convicted for kidnapping, rape and murder of a female BPO employee in Pune in 2007.

Purshottam, a driver with a logistics company, picked up the victim from her home to take her to the Wipro office for her night shift, but instead took her to a secluded spot. He and Kokade then raped and murdered her. Pune court awarded them death sentence this year, and it will have to be confirmed by the High Court. Both prosecution and defense completed the arguments today.

Public prosecutor Revathi Dhere submitted a three-page document listing the measures that government proposes to take.

It includes a direction that every organisation which employs women should evolve an approved 'Standard Operating Procedure', and a compliance report regarding training program for employees, security staff and drivers should be submitted to the local police station annually.

It is also proposed that ownership of hired vehicles and identity of owners and drivers should be verified and the security staff should be sourced from licensed and approved agencies.

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