The entire thana jumped to its feet when Inspector Lakshmi Chauhan walked in on a weekday afternoon. “ Jai Hind , sir,” saluted her team at Noida’s sole women’s police station.
The mahila thana in Noida Sector 39 caters to the entire Gautam Budh Nagar district and its 7.57 lakh women. Ms. Chauhan, the station officer, leads a team of 25 policewomen, and a male constable and driver.
Most complaints that come to the station relate to dowry harassment and violence by husbands on alcohol or drug binges.
On Monday, a young woman from Chhalera village in Noida came to Ms. Chauhan’s office, complaining about beatings at the hands of her brother-in-law.
“The case seemed motivated by property dispute. But when we had a detailed meeting with the girl, we realised she was afraid to return home,” said the Inspector.
In such cases, the station counsels both sides. If mediation fails and there is a culpable offence, a first information report is registered. Ninety-three FIRs have been registered so far this year, with one rape case under prosecution. However, the real challenge before the cops is to sift between real and false cases.
“The truth is that laws are being misused. Around 80 per cent of the cases we get turn out to be false. This means that we spend so much time counselling victims and investigating claims that real cases suffer,” said Sub-Inspector Kanchan.
The truth becomes a casualty in an environment where crimes against women make headlines every day. “Even though sometimes we know the girl is making up a story, we cannot help the boy, who has to go through the whole procedure where his reputation will get affected,” she added.
Sub-Inspector Geeta Singh said: “The girl’s family accuse us of taking a bribe from the boy if everything doesn’t go in their favour. We have to endure such allegations in the name of justice.”
Despite these odds, besides being under-funded and neglected, the women say they will continue to do their jobs. “We have to do our duty,” said a constable.