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Cops not fair with fair sex

WHAT?S THIS? Cop?s logic?discourage complainants to control crime! And if you raise the voice against thick-skinned policemen, you get to hear from them dirty lingo, enough to put you off! And that serves their purpose.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 00:46 IST

Sudha wants to lodge a complaint regarding a domestic violence. “Don’t bring household issues to police station,” she is told and sent back.
Seema goes to Mahila Thana to report dowry harassment. Cops show reluctance. She insists on getting an FIR lodged and they demand ‘kharcha-pani’.

Dalit woman Vimla is raped. She goes to get an FIR lodged with a woman’s help group. “First, get a proof that you were raped only then we will an FIR be lodged,” the SHO says.

WHAT’S THIS? Cop’s logic—discourage complainants to control crime! And if you raise the voice against thick-skinned policemen, you get to hear from them dirty lingo, enough to put you off! And that serves their purpose.

“Well it seems cops have an attitude problem with women complainants. They act chauvinistically to discourage women complainants,” say women activists.
Prominent women activist and former V-C Lucknow University, Prof Rooprekha Verma says, “The police are simply unsympathetic towards women. They are hesitant to register a case. They are a support system for the public, but they act aversely. It is not rare that they join hands with the more powerful opposite party.”

Similar views were shared by almost all the woman’s organisations. Madhu Garg, AIDWA says, “When we go to a police station with a complaint application, they submit the application but they never give a receiving. And obviously they never take an action against the application.”

She further adds, “It is very difficult to find good people in the police station. Most of them use utterly abusive language, especially at the Bakshi Ka Talab and Krishna Nagar Police Station.”

Sheela (name changed) narrates, “My in-laws harassed me for dowry. They used to lock me in and beat me up. One day I managed to escape from home and went to Gosaiganj Police Station to lodge a complaint. The police did not lodge my compliant. When I returned home I was beaten up black and blue. But finally, I was saved from the hell by my parents, who took me away.”

There are some women who work at the grassroots level for the safety, security and well-being of other women. Jashodhara of Kirti Resource Centre while narrating an experience tells, “Once I had gone with a Dalit woman to a police station to lodge an FIR as she was raped. What the SO there said was appalling. He said that the woman should first get her medical test done and get a proof of the fact that she was raped only then will he lodge an FIR. When the case should have been that he should have lodged an FIR and then sent her for tests.”

Similarly, Renu and Mamta of Humsafar, a women’s help organisation tell, “We work only on cases and have to go the police station as frequently as 4-5 times a week. We are in regular interaction with them and what we feel is that their entire attitude towards women is bad. It’s corrupt. Sometimes they make us run one thana to another. There are times when we go to almost six thanas in a day for one case. And the kind of language they use is simply pathetic. They don’t even know how to talk to a lady. They don’t take a minute to conclude that the woman is characterless.”

Ranjana Bajpai, Chairperson, State Women’s Commission (SWC) also has a similar take on the issue. She says, “Women when they go individually do face this problem but when we approach them they do file a case. The entire problem lies in the system. Each thana should have a special desk for women.”

But the question is as to why the police are reluctant to lodge a complaint or a First Information Report?

There could be two main reasons- one, if they lodge such complaints then they fear that the crime rate to their area will show a rise which in turn will get them into trouble and make them answerable to the higher authorities. Two, they want to save themselves from all the legwork.

First Published: Apr 24, 2006 00:46 IST