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Hyderabad-based women’s safety civic group SHE Teams complete five successful years

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A high five for SHE, as we revisit what a SHE Team does and the people who further these causes

An year ago an incident at a petrol station near Chanchalguda jail seemed straight out of a movie. A miscreant on a two-wheeler, pinched her just as she was getting into an auto. The alert girl took his photo and passed it to the She Teams who quickly swung into action. Posing as a courier guy, a SHE team member called the eve teaser and asked him to pick up his delivery packet. Dressed in plain clothes, the four team members spread across the area, eyes trained on guys coming on bikes.

Hyderabad-based women’s safety civic group SHE Teams complete five successful years

“The miscreant tried to trick us by coming in a car but we still managed to catch him,” shares Bhaskar, a SHE team personnel of two years standing. On a cloudy afternoon when we visit the SHE team office in Adarsh Nagar beside Air India office, the office is buzzing with activities to celebrate the milestone of having completed five glorious years since inception.

“Every day is a new day,” shares C Narmada, Additional DGP, SHE team for the last one year. A division of Telangana police, She Teams was formed in 2014 for better safety and security for women. Not only do they work to prevent child marriages, but teams arrest eve teasers, stalkers and harassers.

How a SHE Team works

There are between 60-100 teams operating in the city at busy public places, schools and colleges. Each team has four or five members (constables including women) and is headed by a sub inspector. In plain clothes, these members present an informal look. In fact, it is this casual appearance that helps them from being identified and noticed.

Platforms for complaints
  • The complaints received from 2014 to 2019 (till date)
  • Total: 6104 petitions
  • Walk in: 1957
  • Email: 905
  • Facebook: 343
  • WatsApp: 801
  • Hawk-eye: 134
  • Twitter: 7
  • Dial 100: 1549
  • Red-handed cases: 408
  • FIR Cases–307 (IPC cases-166, Nirbhaya Act cases-125,POCSO – 13, PD Act-3 cases)
  • Petty cases: 570
  • Warned and let off cases: 1906

The teams work in two ways. First, around 201 plain clothes personnel patrol (earlier it was 100, but the number is changing as the city is spreading and growing) various public spaces prone to harassment issues. When they spot something, they record first before swinging to action. “We need evidence so that we can act on it; that later helps in prevention,” says Shikha. The second way is by lodging a complaint. “We are on all social media platforms and an easy method to reach us is to call 100 and ask for us. We get maximum complaints through walk-ins. Sometimes the victim does not want to register a case and is happy if the person is counselled,” she says.

Most of the days are complaint-high; delivered by WhatsApp, social media and the most preferred complaint mode - personal visits to SHE Teams office to register. From the routine ones, phone harassments, sexual harassment at workplace, blackmailing issues to those involving minors, mosyt offences are dealt with care. Cases of domestic violence are transferred to Bharosa, another initiative of Hyderabad police. Narmada talks of one complaint by a married woman seeking help to shift to a hostel.

Most of their complaints relate to phone harassments. Narmada recollects when she was in CID in Andhra Pradesh and got a random call. “When girls file complaint about phone harassments, I can relate to that because it also happened to me. In most cases of minors, the girls/families are not interested in filing an FIR. We encourage them to do it, as nothing can be done without filing a case.”

‘Aim to have it under control’

Shikha Goel, Additional Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad is elated, as she shares, “It has been an interesting and learning experience. There is reason to celebrate, as this initiative has been able to sustain and create an image for itself.” Success is knowing that women have a sense of security, she adds. When we point out the crimes still continue against women, she retorts it is not possible to have a crime-free society. “The aim is to have it under control.”

Hyderabad-based women’s safety civic group SHE Teams complete five successful years

Maintaining confidentiality is a prime reason for the success of She Teams. Most girls feel tense while entering the building but go out reassured “We have to make them comfortable so that they open up. Our voices might sound stern in a police station, but here we speak in a soothing tone. Once they are assured that we will not share info with families/relatives if they do not want to, they speak up with courage,” says K Padma, a lady constable.

Md. Jehangir an sub-inspector of police with 38 years of experience in the department and six months in the Team, takes pride in the happy spirit. “When women come to SHE team, they feel confident, safe and happy.” Radha Jakkam, a lady constable adds, “The women are aware that they can come to this office as many times as they want to.”

On a lighter note, Narmada shares a common question they are asked in colleges. “Boys ask when will HE teams start.”

(Reach SHE Team on WhatsApp no: 9490616 555)

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:20:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/she-teams-celebrates-five-glorious-years/article29897245.ece

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