All Women Police Station for Haryana
If you are an Indian and you have read about this state, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Kurukshetra, the battlefield of Mahabharata or the most skewed sex ratio? The teachings of Gita or the cases of honor killings? The rich agriculture or the burning of brides?
Most of us know this one state in India for many things negative – a sad example of dominant patriarchy, child marriages, honor killings, ever declining sex ratio, dowry deaths and what not. But this Friday, the state of Haryana took a positive step to protect women and hear their woes with empathy.
Haryana did something that some other states (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) in India have already successfully implemented. The state gave its women an all women police station. Now you may think, why do we need such a police station or how will this help solve issues in Haryana. I agree may be not so directly, but indirectly, it is a positive change.
The visible change: A woman covering her face with a veil walks to a police station with her husband to file the first information report about the stalker who has been harassing her for days. She is surrounded by men as she starts talking. Her husband is already judging her and now the surrounding intimidates her. She watches men behind bars, a man making notes while she speaks, another man asking probing questions about specific incidents, another man sketching the face of the guy who is stalking this lady. Symbols have their own language. Don’t they? She is scared and after spending hours in the police station she is wondering if she should have even come to lodge a report. She is wondering if being a woman is so wrong in this country.
A women’s police station will be easy cos she can talk openly and she needn’t hide the details that are too much to share with someone of the opposite sex. Do keep in mind that most of these women have never stepped out of the four walls of their houses. Talking personal things with a male is hard and needs a lot of courage. Here, at this station, they would not hesitate to come to the police station on their own and talk to another woman. It’s like going next door and opening up. Many times family honor is guarded and cases go unreported but knowing that a women’s help line number is right there and even a whatsapp message to the station will see action, fear will be lesser.
The subtle change: A woman covering her face with a veil walks to a police station with her husband to file the first information report about the stalker who has been harassing her for days. The guard at the door is a woman and she takes her to a station in-charge who is a woman. She talks to the officer and notices that the majority of the staff is women. Then she sees a another woman officer running to a crime scene or one riding a bike. She may see a male opening the door of the police van for the woman officer or a woman officer being driven by male chauffeur.
Do you see what I am seeing? It’s changing the perception of women this lady has seen all her life. This tells her that her daughter can also become a police woman. This tells her that education and a job command respect and women are progressing in her own small town. She goes back home being aware that though she was exploited, another woman would help her get justice. She believes that a girl or a boy, either can be breadwinner for the family.
Indian Police is way short of women officers and may be this move will attract more women to the force. This will not just create employment but also break gender stereotypes and be a positive influence on the society.
I believe in moving forward and while this may be a small step, it is still significant. Like other states have been successful, it would be great to see Haryana ensure the safety of women.
What are your thoughts?
I am enjoying writing a non-fiction piece for Yeah Write. This one is for #229.