Saturday, 9 May 2009

Haryana police needs better training

The Haryana police has once again lived up to its reputation - of being the most gender- insensitive police force in the country. There have been two reported cases in the last one year of women, who had been raped, driven to suicide when the police refused to register their complaint.

It is tough for a woman to come out in the open and say she has been raped. When she plucks up enough courage and comes forward only to find that the authorities who are supposed to help her, turn a deaf ear, she finds herself all alone with no recourse for action against the culprits. Moreover, she lives in the dreaded fear that her tormentors who have escaped punishment, would be emboldened to rape her again.

That the police is insensitive to a woman's plight is to state the obvious. It also suffers from a great class bias. If the woman is from an economically poor strata of society, she has little chances of being heard. In all likelihood, she would be shooed away from the police station. There have been quite a number of cases of women being raped by the men in uniform, who were supposed to protect them.

In Haryana, the two women killed themselves when they found the police refused to listen to them in spite of them trying all means within their power to make themselves heard.

Alka and her husband, spent the past many months running around for justice. Failing in their effort, the couple who have two children below ten years old, consumed poison outside the office of the Inspector General of Police, Rohtak. While Alka died by the time she was taken to hospital, her husband lies critically ill.

According to media reports, Alka said she was gangraped by five men in Samalkha town in Karnal district last year. The police there did not register a case despite her complaint. She then met the IGP who forwarded her complaint to the Karnal district police chief. However, the case was later cancelled by the police who said that nothing could be found during investigations.
Senior Haryana police officials have refused to comment on Alka’s death.

In June last year, another young woman, Sarita, had consumed poison inside the Haryana police headquarters in Panchkula near Chandigarh, alleging that the police were not taking any action on two of its own personnel who had raped her inside a police station in Rohtak April last year.

 The action by Sarita and Alka and her husband, is a statement that a society that does not even hear them out is not worth living in.

These are just two cases that have come to the media's attention. There are bound to be many more cases, where women after failing to register complaints against their tormentors, just give up, picking up pieces of their lives as best as they can and living in constant dread of being bodily harmed and mentally tortured again. The culprits roam free, emboldened that they can target a woman.

Haryana is a state which has become synonymous with a desensitised police force. The selection of its personnel and their training need a urgent closer look and attention. Those who are in charge of selecting suitable men and women for the force, need to ensure that they pick the right candidates. Further, their training needs to be overhauled, so that the state raises a sensitised police force which women feel comfortable in approaching.

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