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Taser, pepper spray way to go for Mumbai

On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government offered radical solution for ensuring safety of women who work late and commute alone. It submitted to the Bombay high court a proposed set of guidelines, which includes a recommendation that women be given personal safety gadgets such as pepper spray by the employers.

Women working between 7 pm to 7 am should be provided with car pick-up and drop facility with security personnel; women employees should be trained in self-defence and provided with personal safety gadgets, like tasers and pepper spray, among other things, the government proposal said.

The division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode had said on Monday that 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 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 defence completed the arguments on Tuesday.

The 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; the security staff should be sourced from licensed and approved agencies, GPS units should be installed in cars along with CCTVs, and every company should have a control room operated by trained staff to help the woman in case of emergency.
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