Visakhapatnam

Lady cops play agony aunts, mediators

It is said marriages are made in heaven. But in these times, it takes cops and counsellors on earth to fix crumbling ones.

A few months ago, a newly married S. Janaki (name changed) approached the Women’s Police Station (WPS) alleging harassment by her husband S. Raghu (name changed) and her in-laws.

The couple are techies working in different IT firms in Hyderabad. All was well in the first two months of their marriage. But things began to turn prickly when Raghu demanded a share in his wife’s salary. Add to that Raghu’s father allegedly instructed him to ignore his wife, as she refused to part with her salary. This had led Raghu to stay in a separate room, cooking his own food and he began mentally torturing Janaki for money.

Delicate handling

“It took three sessions for us to counsel the couple and workout a compromise formula. In the first session, we learnt about their issues and to took time to break the ice, as both suffered from the ego syndrome. We explained the importance of understanding each other, how petty was their issue and how life could be spoiled over such disputes. In the third session, we strongly urged the parents not to involve in the children’s matters,” said a Family Counsellor, Family Counselling Centre, run at the WPS.

The WPS has been playing a major role in helping victims of domestic violence, harassment and other family disputes. Even though domestic violence cases are received by other police stations, the Station House Officers (SHO) tend to forward the cases to WPS. Reason? For it’s exclusive Family Counselling Centre, run in association with the Social Welfare Department, Andhra University (AU). The WPS receives hundreds of cases every year but have been on a steep rise over the last few years.

MeToo men

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP-WPS) G. Prem Kajal said a number of women throng the WPS on a daily basis complaining harassment, while a few men too approach alleging disputes with their wives. “After receiving the petitions, our first priority is to counsel the couple and in-laws in three stages. Charge-sheets will be filed only if the couples do not compromise,” Ms. Prem Kajal added.

“Demanding additional dowry, suspicion on partners, lack of understanding between each other, extra-marital affairs and a few others have been the main reasons for disputes in most cases we receive, she explained.

Of all ages

P. Gowri, a family counsellor at the centre said right from the newly married to the elderly, women are approaching WPS alleging domestic violence by their husbands and in-laws.

“We received a case where a woman approached the WPS just three days after her marriage, saying she was forced into the marriage. There is a case where a 45-year-old woman lodged a complaint against her husband and in-laws citing domestic violence,” Ms. Gowri said.

“It’s not that only men create issues, there are cases were women too are responsible, which we try settling through counselling,” she added.

Maladjustment and ego issues

Counsellors say there has been a trend of educated and working couples lodging complaints over petty issues, mainly due to adjustment problems and ego issues. “In many cases, couples have barely lived for a few months and the relationship had turned bitter,” said Ms. Prem Kajal.

Financial independence, ego issues over pay, different office timings and even over use of mobile phones, are a few reasons that are making the couples knock the WPS door.

Three-stage counselling

It’s Individual, Group and Parental. If the couple do not compromise, they are sent to Advisory Board members, which include S. Radha Rani, Superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care, Head of the Social Welfare Department, AU, Professor Sobha Sri, and a few from the legal fraternity. “Even after that if they do not compromise, they would be sent to the ACP for final counselling, after which cases would be booked,” said Ms. Gowri.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 7:20:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/lady-cops-play-agony-aunts-mediators/article29370098.ece

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