A minor rape victim in Bhopal had to wait more than 10 hours to lodge an FIR as the only woman official at Habibganj police station was on duty at the BJP office, rights activists say.
The state government’s claims that it has put into place several mechanism to ensure that victims of sexual crime do not suffer indignities and inconvenience have fallen flat in the absence of sufficient women police personnel, some of them said.
“Two weeks back, a minor girl from Uttar Pradesh was raped by a resident of Meera Nagar slum and we took her to the Habibganj police station around 1 pm. We had to wait for more than ten hours for the woman sub-inspector to come back and the register the case,” said Atarvati, a volunteer of NGO Sangini.
“Due to the long wait, the girl had to face severe trauma,” she said.
Suman, another volunteer said: “The mismanagement of police doesn’t end here, even for the medical check-up we had to take the girl in the autorickshaw spending our own money.”
“That day we realised why girls and women avoid lodging complaint with police,” she said
Prathana Mishra, another activist said: “The accused was arrested but the delay affected the traumatized victim. The government should resolve this issue because it is not the first the time that we faced such delay in registering a rape case.”
“There must be an alternative option like calling women police personnel from other police station or from women police station,” she said.
Sarika Sinha ,a manager Action Aide, said, “In 2013, we had recommended that in every police station should have at least 3 to 4 women police personnel. But even after two years, we are still waiting it to be implemented.”
An activist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said that Bhopal being the state capital, most women police personnel are busy on VIP duty.
“When there is a staff crunch, why should women police personnel be deploy on duty at political party offices and in political rallies. The government should address the problem,” she said.
Asked about the delay in registering the FIR, Anshuman Singh, superintendent of police (south) said: “I was not aware of it. Staff crunch is one of the issues and the government is trying to resolve it by recruiting more women police personnel.”
“But the officers at police station should be sensitive towards such issue. I will look into the matter,” he said.