Women will make up 33 per cent of the police force in Delhi and all Union territories by the end of the NDA Government’s term in 2019, Union Minster of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said on Wednesday.
Mr. Rijiju added that the all-women police stations or mahila thanas , of which India has 518 currently, “won’t work” in increasing the number of women in the force.
“I don’t agree with having all-women police stations, rather we should aim for women in the police. The government will ensure that 33 per cent of police that are under the Centre, like Delhi Police, comprise women by the end of our tenure,” said Mr. Rijiju. The Union Cabinet had approved a proposal for 33 per cent reservation for women in the police for Union territories in March, and issued an advisory to States as well. Currently, women make up just 6.11 per cent of India’s police force and 7.15 per cent of the Delhi Police’s strength, as per a report released by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Wednesday.
Speaking at the launch of the report on women in police in South Asia, Mr. Rijiju reiterated the government’s intention of implementing the policy. But, a senior woman IPS officer attending the event doubted the government’s “seriousness”.
“I have been working in the police for 38 years now and I haven’t seen any real change; symbolic changes have been made. The decision-makers are insecure about women’s ability to perform meaningful tasks. That mindset hasn’t changed,” said Delhi Police Special Commissioner (administration) Vimla Mehra.
Meanwhile, the report titled Rough Roads to Equality looks at the representation of women in the police force India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Maldives. India comes in second to Maldives, which has 7.4 per cent women in its police. Bangladesh was third with 4.4 per cent, and Pakistan came in last with women making up less than 1 per cent, 0.94 per cent to be precise, of its police force.
“We have come second, but that is nothing to be proud of. It is a matter of great concern that the numerical strength of women in the police is abysmally low,” said Mr. Rijiju.
Devika Prasad, the coordinator for CHRI’s police reforms programme, said that the research pointed to small gains being made, but there was a lot more to be done to increase women’s participation in the police.