Four women constables from the Chittoor district unit of the Andhra Pradesh police cycled 1,250 km as part of a mission to encourage women in distress to visit the police station.
The 45-day ‘cycle yatra,’ which began on October 24 and covered 57 tehsils of Chittoor district, ended on Wednesday after 45 days. The women were from the ‘She-Team’ (women and juvenile wing) of the police. During their cycle rally, awareness programmes were organised in nearly a hundred locations, covering both urban and rural areas.
The four constables — Nirmala, Tirumala, Nagaratna and Bhargavi — interacted with thousands of women on issues related to crimes against women, including domestic violence, trafficking, and sexual assault. Police personnel, lawyers, women’s groups, teachers, and students joined the campaign in large numbers. During the tour, the women — all of them single and in their early twenties — stayed at police stations, educational institutions and women’s hostels.
In the course of their journey, the cyclists had to negotiate some tough stretches, including steep and winding ghat roads, and forested areas of Bhakarapet, Moghili, Karveti Nagaram, Kaigal and Pachikapallam.
Ms. Nirmala said the objective of their mission was to dispel women’s fears about approaching the police with their grievances.
Ms. Tirumala said that she had postponed her marriage in order to participate in the cycle yatra.
Ms. Nagaratna said that initially, she had misgivings about joining the ‘cycle yatra’. “I had hurt my leg six months ago. But I decided to go ahead. I did feel pain in the ghat sections but overall everything went well,” she said.
Ms. Bhargavi said that the second day of the yatra, in the ghat section, was the toughest.
“During our regular meetings, it had come to our notice that women and girls resort to extreme steps such as suicide even for trivial matters. This campaign was an attempt to combat such tendencies,” said SP Rajasekhar Babu.