City's women's police stations in existential crisis

City's women's police stations in existential crisis

Basavanagudi station turns counselling centre

In 2008, when former City police commissioner Shankar Bidari decided to close down the two all women police stations, Ulsoor Gate and Basavanagudi, the move was strongly resisted by women’s organisations and women officers of the department.

 The plan to close them had to be shelved. Four years later, it is as though the women’s police stations exist just for the sake of it. Deccan Herald does a reality check of the state of affairs at the stations.

First, the police stations have never been alloted a police inspector. The Ulsoor Gate station is headed by Inspector Anjumala T Nayak, who is on deputation, while the Basavanagudi station is manned by a sub-inspector. Second, the two stations are severely understaffed.

The Ulsoor Gate women’s police station works full time and 78 cases of harassment of women have been registered till date for 2012. The station has received 235 petty cases under various sections. But, the same cannot be said about the Basavanagudi women’s police station. It has been a year since a case has been registered at the station. It has been reduced to being a ‘counselling centre’. 

When this reporter visited the station, it was observed that of the six head constables allotted to the station, only one was present. Of the stipulated 24 constables, only half of them have been posted at the station. Of these, seven are new recruits, who are under training since March this year.

They are expected to join duty in two months. That leaves the station with only five constables and a sub-inspector. Of the five constables, three are on deputation from other stations. Chances are they will be sent back to their parent stations very soon. Sub-inspector A V Renuka, who heads the station, returned from maternity leave only recently. Constables ran the show in her absence. The sub-inspector has been provided with a jeep for official purposes, but sans a driver. She has been using her private vehicle as she is unable to drive the jeep.  The staff express helplessness at having to turn away women who come seeking help. The cops said there was an oral instruction not to register any case and direct those approaching the station to the jurisdictional police. The cops have turned ‘marriage counselors’, advising couples on the brink of splitting to patch up. This, activists say, discourages women from registering complaints.  Sonia Narang, DCP (South), told Deccan Herald, “We have been dealing with women’s cases at the jurisdictional police stations itself. The Basavanagudi station is understaffed. We are investigating and filing charge sheets in all backlog cases at the station presently. Counselling is also done there.”  The Basavanagudi women’s police station has investigated and filed charge sheets in nearly 90 backlog cases in the last six months. Donna Fernandes, a women’s rights activist of Vimochana, told Deccan Herald that women police stations were no better than other stations. “What surprises me is the animosity towards women’s rights groups at these stations. Other police stations turn away women, asking them to file complaints at the women’s stations, but these stations are defunct. Women are forced to run from pillar to post to register cases.”

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