Hyderabad: Telangana member of Legislative council Kavitha Kalvakuntla said that women in Telangana know how to ask for help regarding any form of harassment, cybercrime or other issues because of the many provisions set in place by the government.
Kavitha participated in a programme named “Call It Out Because Its Not OK,” a campaign by TrueCaller that challenges today’s scenario of harassment being normalised online. She said that the chief minister of the state puts women in first when it comes to safety and financial security.
“For example, if pension has to be given to a couple, Telangana gives it to the wife first. 2BHK house allotment to couple also takes place with the wife’s name on the property. Telangana government believes in empowering women. Safety should be like air, and it shouldn’t be something that women should have to ask for,” she said.
“I am one of the lucky few women who has not directly faced gender bias in her career,” she said. Kavitha added that by being a woman in politics, there is a comfort level that women of the country feel when approaching her. “There is a need for more women in politics. The country’s women will then feel more comfortable talking about their issues. Whichever village or program I go to, it is clearly seen that the women approach me first.”
She spoke about the Telangana government working with NALSAR university to come up with a law to deal with cyber harassment that women face. She said that though there already are laws in place to deal with cybercrime in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the government decided to bring in specific laws to make it easier to train citizens, police, and companies.
“Women in Telangana know where to go to get help. Even in the rural areas, they know they can approach She Teams or the cyber crime department.” Kavitha added that with new laws, the job becomes easier for the police also to book offenders under specific laws.
On being asked about the rise in the rate of phone harassment in the state, Kavitha said that this statistic was a byproduct of internet penetration into rural areas.
“The number of women who own phones is much smaller than that of men. The number of women with access to the internet is even lesser. This has changed post-pandemic, bringing in more cases of harassment.” She added that the government has brought in an ICT policy to address this issue.
“The digital space has to be made safer, and the government alone cannot do everything. Big tech companies also have to make the process of reporting harassment easier. This is a societal issue, not political,” she said.
The Truecaller ‘Call it Out’ programme in Telangana also saw the participation of Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, CV Anand, Badminton player, an Arjuna awardee, Parupalli Kashyap, Chairman of TS commission for protection of Child Rights, J Srinivasa Rao, founder of Youngistaan foundation Arun Yellamaty, and many other noted public figures.