The recent shocking incidents of a married woman getting raped by a traffic cop in Delhi, and two teenaged sisters in Madhya Pradesh committing suicide after harassment by policemen, has dealt a big blow to the claims of ‘trust building measures’ undertaken by police vis a vis women.
HT City spoke to a cross section of young girls and NGOs working in the area of sexual harassment against women and majority say that women, at least in the Capital, are as afraid of cops as they are of eve teasers and molesters.
Ankurita Pathak, 29, a FICCI official recalls, “Once I went to a police station to lodge an FIR against a man who was harassing me, but came back feeling uncomfortable as the cops kept staring at me in a not-so-decent way. Now, I wouldn’t ever bother visiting one.”
Manisha Dutta, 23, a B Pharm student said, “I was traveling in a cycle rickshaw in Mukherjee Nagar last week at 8.30 pm Suddenly, a sloshed police hawaldar stopped my rickshaw and sat down beside me forcefully. I didn’t know what his intention was, but I was so scared that I jumped off and started running back towards my home.”
A survey done by Gender Group Study shows that 45% of women suffered from sexual harassment on Delhi campus roads. And the same study further states that 20.2% women hostellers have faced sexual harassment from policemen, this includes staring, winking and lewd comments.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research, says, “Policing culture in India is not gender friendly. Women are nervous and uncomfortable of approaching the police.
However, Delhi Police spokesperson, ACP Rajan Bhagat, urges that girls ought not to be scared of the Police. “We have a special anti-stalking Helpline (1096). Even if the victim doesn’t want to reveal her identity, she can just call and we are here to help.”