Parveen Saba, 23, feels that police stations are not a good place for women to walk in unaccompanied. On September 23, her sister, Parveen Akhtar, 25, was taken to the Daigarh police station in Mumbra after a neighbour accused her of stealing gold ornaments. Parveen was allegedly beaten up and she died four days later.
"There is no complaint of the theft with the police for which Akhtar was called to the police station and beaten up for hours," claimed Aquila Khan, an Aawaaz-e-Niswaan member. She was speaking at the 'Public hearing of women's voices against the police atrocities' held in the city on Friday to mark World Human Rights Day.
Khan has been accompanying Saba to the police station to follow up on her sister's case. She alleged that when Akhtar came back from the police station she had injuries on her head, shoulder and hands. "Fearing the police she never disclosed anything about the wounds or torture to the local doctor. And she was only treated for fever," said Saba.
When the pain became unbearable after a couple of days, she was referred to Shivaji Hospital and she was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit. She died of internal bleeding on September 27.
Aawaaz-e-Niswaan filed an application under the Right to Information Act to the Thane and Mumbai police commissioners to get information on the progress made by the police in investigating the case. In a reply filed last week, the Thane police commissioner said that nothing could be disclosed about the case as the state CID was investigating the matter.
Several women present at the meet echoed Saba's concerns on the police's callous attitude. Although there were different voices, but their problems were the same.
"If you talk more you will be put behind bars," was a common threat faced by many of my colleagues when they approach the police for different cases, said Hasina Khan, also of Aawaaz-e-Niswaan.
"The major problem is when police officers are accused, their relation with the authorities, plays a decisive role in proving them guilty or innocent," said advocate Mihir Desai, a panelist at the hearing.
Bharti Kurhade, deputy commissioner of police, assured the gathering that she would take up the issues raised at the hearing with the officials concerned.