Telangana women cops face bias

Discrimination and sexual assault on women cops show the extent of male chauvinism in Telangana force.

Hyderabad: In the first week of September last year, Home Guard Minakshi (name changed) panicked when she got an unusual order from her boss, Deputy Superintendent of Police A. Lakshminarayana.

Knowing she had lost her husband, the DSP, posted at the Armed Reserve in Ranga Reddy district, had been calling her over the phone. His harassment started weeks after she was posted to his office.

Though this order did not seem official, Minakshi had to follow it. “He asked me to go to his house,” Minakshi later told investigation officials.

She doubted his intentions, and she wanted to put the harassment to an end. “When I reached his house, I secretly switched on my phone’s sound recorder,” she said.

In his official quarters at Vikarabad, Lakshminarayana made advances to Minakshi. She begged him not to, but he was adamant. Their conversation was recorded on the phone. She took the evidence to the police.

On January 30, Telangana DGP suspended Lakshminarayana on the charges of molestation. “His act has brought disrepute to the police department,” the DGP said.

Lakshminarayana is not the only one who brings ‘disrepute’ to TS police. The police department has many such officials. A few are caught and others are still having a free run.

“The extent of male chauvinism in this department is alarming. Even the Bihar police might not have such a horrible misogynistic working culture,” said a senior woman IPS official.Not only junior cops, SI-level women personnel cannot escape the overt misogyny.

“In 2013, the woman sub inspector of Shankarpally was threatened by a male SI who was her junior. He even pointed a revolver at her. Both were later called to the police headquarters on this issue,” said a source in the DGP office.

The woman SI, in charge of the police station was only asking her colleague to comply with the procedures, and that irked him.

In the last week of September 2014, then Abids inspector T. Uma Maheswar Rao was suspended on charges of sexual assault on a woman cop. Strangely, no criminal case was booked against him.

Read: Telangana police force: One-third posts for women in 2016

Last year, Secunderabad Railway SP Janardhanan was accused of misbehaving with a female colleague. Many junior women cops, especially those posted in district police stations, have a tough time getting married.

“It is quite possible that their immediate seniors and superiors exploit them sexually. That would harm the marriage prospects of these women, as gossips would have spread within the department and outside,” said a senior police officer.

Women personnel get relegated as ‘receptionist’ at police stations
While top cops talk big on ‘people-friendly policing’ and ‘community policing’, many women personnel are put as receptionists and many are posted at the front desk of police stations. Other duties of women cops include bandobust and escort. Crime investigation is largely monopolised by men.

“In women police stations, female cops might get a chance to investigate marital dispute cases. It is very hard to find women cops who investigate other cases in common police stations or in special wings of the state police. Whenever I was posted to a police station, I was given administrative charges, never crime investigation,” said a woman sub-inspector.

Women SIs and CIs are usually pushed to “insignificant” posts in the state police headquarters, commissioner’s office, IT and passport verification cell. Hyderabad has no female station house officers, except in women PS and Lake police.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story