Police teams deployed to curb sexual assaults

Kathmandu, January 2

Metropolitan Police Office has deployed 20 teams of plainclothes cops, including female policewomen, to catch persons found groping or making unwanted sexual advances towards female passengers on public transport, mainly buses.

According to Women and Children Service Centre at MPO, the teams will cover the public vehicles operating on all routes of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

Sub-inspector Sushma Kathayat said teams under the ‘Safety Pin Campaign’ were deployed with effect from yesterday and would see how male passengers behave with their female counterparts in two shifts — from 9:00am to 12:00 noon and from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Anyone found sexually harassing female passengers will be arrested outright for legal action, said MPO. Many women and teenagers using public transport face sexual harassment, but most of the cases go unreported.

Public vehicles in the Valley are usually overcrowded, providing molesters with ample opportunity to sexually harass women. Existing laws define sexual assault as any form of sexual contact or activity like touching, tapping and showing sexually explicit pictures or movies without one’s consent.

Meanwhile, MPO has encouraged all to report to police hotline (100) or 9851289111 to report sexual harassment. It also assured that the identity of the complainants would be protected while initiating legal action against the perpetrators. MPO informed that sexual abuse complaints reported by women would be dealt with seriously and law enforcement officials would reach the spot to protect the victims.