Kerala House discusses Sreelekha’s interview
The Kerala Police Officers’ Association has criticised her, saying that while she was in service, she did not do much and raised serious allegations after her retirement.
Kerala’s first woman Indian Police Service (IPS) officer R Sreelekha’s interview to a Malayalam channel two days back, in which she talked at length about gender bias and sexual harassment in the force, figured prominently in the Kerala assembly on Tuesday.
Responding to a question in the House, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Sreelekha had expressed her opinion about her posting and other details, but she had not shared details about wrong practices prevailing in the force. “She had expressed her personal and professional opinions several times, but she never told me about such bad experiences,” the CM said. If she shares specific details about harassment, the government will look into it, Vijayan said.
He said the government was committed to enrolling more women officers into the police to bridge the gender gap. “Our aim is to make a 50:50 representation in the force and we have started recruiting mid-level officers directly to attain this,” he said.
The former director of general of police (1987 batch) said she had faced many challenges as a first woman officer, but she was glad that while stepping down (she retired in 2020 as DGP, fire service), she had prepared a proper ground for junior officers to come up. In the interview she said the first thing to demotivate a woman officer was to cook up sleazy stories and make abusive calls. She listed incidents in which she came to the rescue of harassed junior officers.
“One day a woman sub-inspector came to me desperately to save her from a predatory DIG. Next time when he called her, I took up the phone and told him that she had entrusted some work to her so she can’t come to him,” Sreelekha said, adding that when the DIG came to know that she was aware of the harassment, he stopped calling the woman SI.
Sreelekha said when she was about join the force, she came to know about a comment of a senior officer that “a woman is coming to pollute our department.” She said it was all about attitude and giving a fair treatment to the fair sex. Sreelekha said in her three-decade-long career, she was in the law and order department for less than eight years.
The Kerala Police Officers’ Association has criticised her, saying that while she was in service, she did not do much and raised serious allegations after her retirement. “She talked at length about a DIG who used to summon a woman SI frequently. Instead of taking it up, she helped cover it up. There is no point in raising such allegations now,” said association general secretary C R Biju in his Facebook post. He said such charges will demotivate women officers and even affect their personal life.
When contacted, the former DGP said she won’t add anything more to the interview and stuck to whatever she had said.