Kathmandu, April 22

The ‘Operation Safety Pin’ campaign being conducted by Metropolitan Police Office is not limited to public transport now.

MPO has started deploying a dozen more teams of plainclothes cops, including female policewomen, to catch persons found groping or making unwanted sexual advances towards women and girls in public places in Kathmandu valley.

Senior Superintendent of Police Purna Chandra Joshi, who is also the MPO spokesperson, said anyone, even women, found seducing or soliciting in public places for the purpose of commercial sex would also be arrested outright for legal action.

He informed that sting operation teams would be deployed in crowded places, mainly Ratna Park, Bus Park, Thamel, Koteshwor, Chabahil, Gongabu, Kalanki, Lagankhel and Gwarko, among others. This is part of the Operation Safety Pin’ launched by MPO on August 2 last year which SSP Joshi said had proven effective in curbing sexual harassment on public transport, especially buses operating on all routes of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

Many women and teenagers using public transport face sexual harassment, but most of the cases used to go unreported. “This campaign has encouraged the victims to come forward and report such cases to police,” he said.

According to statistics released by MPO, as many as 128 persons were arrested for allegedly sexually harassing female passengers in public bus during the period. Of them, 44 were charged while 83 others cautioned and handed over to relatives. Investigation into two cases are under way.

“The cases of sexual harassment on public transport have gradually decreased due to the operation,” SSP Joshi claimed. Public vehicles in the Valley are usually overcrowded, providing molesters with ample opportunity to sexually harass women.

Meanwhile, MPO has encouraged all to dial 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.