The iClik is the brainchild of Joydeep Nayak, head of Odisha police’s human rights unit, who came up with the idea after the high-profile gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman aboard a Delhi bus in December 2012.
The case drew attention to the rising numbers of cases of violence against women in India. It also highlighted the fear of social stigma that surrounds such crimes, allowing perpetrators to act with a sense of impunity.
Developed jointly by the Odisha police and the state-run Odisha Computer Application Center, the prototype machine – with its inbuilt microphone, scanner, camera and printer – operates 24 hours a day and in English, Hindi and Oriya languages.
There are three ways to lodge a complaint at the iClik – by sending an email, recording a voice message or by scanning a written complaint. This is immediately transmitted to Bhubaneswar’s police control room for investigation.
Nayak says having the iClik next to an ATM works well as there is power backup and a security guard already at the booth. In addition, women can use the excuse of going to the bank to lodge their complaints privately and safely.
Given iClik’s success, Nayak has plans to roll out more such kiosks across the city. Police in other Indian cities such as Bangalore have also expressed interest in the machines.
The woman who had suffered a decade of beatings now works as a social worker at a local charity. She says iClik not only saved her from her husband’s assaults, but also helped her escape social stigma, as no one knows that she herself reported the crimes.
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