Hyderabad

Here, suspecting the complainant is the norm

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‘The general atmosphere of a police station is women-unfriendly’

Several voices have been raised to question the behaviour of police, when the mother of the veterinary doctor went to the police station to lodge a missing complaint.

Three men of uniform have been suspended for their nonchalant response and inaction with regard to the complaint.

Sadly, however, she is not alone in courting such unpleasant experience at a police station. It is generally agreed that police stations are unfriendly to women.

Unsolicited advice

As an unwritten rule, policemen often look askance at the complainant, especially when it is a woman. The first reaction after hearing a complaint would be to suspect the complainant, and the next is giving unsolicited advice.

“I once went to a police station to lodge a complaint about abusive calls and messages on my mobile phone. The sub-inspector on duty immediately deduced that it must be someone I knew, and that I was only trying to get back at him. After several entreaties, he agreed to trace the person. As I turned to leave, he generously advised me to send my father next time, and not to come to the station alone,” shares Sudharani (name changed), a software professional.

Disadvantaged sections

Women’s activist and academic Sujatha Surepally vouches for the fact that it is difficult even for her to have an FIR registered, especially if the victim is a Dalit or tribal woman. Often, it takes a demonstration in front of the police station to get the job done.

“The general atmosphere at the police station is unfriendly to women. They look at you as if you have committed a crime simply by coming there with a complaint. Women police stations are no different,” she says.

The attitude of police can be summed up in one sentence uttered by a high ranking police officer, when Ms. Surepally and other women activists approached him with complaints about online abuse. “He said the police had no jurisdiction over social media, and that we should refrain from posting anything online if we wished to avoid abuse. ‘Live it or leave it’ was his succinct advice,” she recalls.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:41:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/here-suspecting-the-complainant-is-the-norm/article30142717.ece

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