Thursday 26 May 2022
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Special Women’s Force Needed

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Atrocities on women get the nation’s attention whenever an incident of rape with brutality is reported. The issue is then forgotten till another incident of similar nature occurs. The tragedy is, these incidents happen with so much regularity that one is subjected to the humiliation of watching these almost everyday on television or reading about them in newspapers. The collective psyche seems to have numbed as daily dose of dehumanisation keeps pouring in.

A woman was brutally raped and killed in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city Lucknow by a private security guard. Instead of covering the naked body with a piece of cloth, someone took a video of the dead body. In Bihar’s Jehanabad, a middle aged woman was stripped, beaten and paraded naked before full view of public and police. In Bangalore, a skating instructor raped a 6-year-old child.

IQAll these three incidents are horrific and would shame anyone even with a little sensitivity. Spontaneous protests in the social serve the purpose of containing the anger. But where is the solution? Did Uttar Pradesh Governor Aziz Qureshi strike the right chord with millions of disillusioned citizens by saying “not even God can prevent rapes”?

What should society do? Allow ‘Daminis’ to be raped and killed? A time will come when people will not welcome birth of a daughter for the failure to give her protection from the male feudal order where raping a woman is seen as a manly act or, at best, an act of errant sons as Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had remarked.

This columnist was asked to give an opinion on the issue of these three incidents by a TV anchor. I had not thought about this in advance, but an idea came that the country should have a special police force, something on the pattern of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), to deal with cases of atrocities on women. And it resounded with other panelists and anchors. I decided to expand it further.

Women form about 50% of the country’s population. If this community is subjected to so much of suffering, why should special care not be taken to address their concerns? Why should this be left to State Governments that repeatedly fail to deal with such crimes? If we can have a Border Security Force (BSF) to deal with borders and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to deal with exceptional situation of law and order, why can’t we have a Special Women’s Force (SWF) to deal with crimes against women?

Are atrocities on women less criminal than communal violence that has led to the formation of the RAF? Does not deployment of RAF lead to lessening of communal violence or better control over riot situations? When almost half the population is suffering due to atrocities of the feudal order, SWF may provide relief.

Registration of an FIR, Investigation and prosecution should be left to this SWF. In most cases of violence related to women, either the legal sections are not applied correctly or the investigation is not done properly as the ordinary police is too busy in other activities. In most instances, such cases are seen by these police officers more as an opportunity to rake in the moolah.

Women need at least sensitive people manning the police station so that the victims can narrate their plight uninhibited. What about false cases of complaints? The SWF would ensure that unless the cases are crystal clear, such as rape etc, arrest would follow only after investigation. And there would be time-bound investigation. When one can trust the feudal minded men to deal with cases related to women, there would be no harm in trusting the women police. This would lead to new empowerment of women, better trust on government, administration and justice.

The SWF should have its own offices and other infrastructure, and should act as a ground to recruit the best talents in the country from every field. It’s time women were allowed to take important decisions. Policy makers would argue that this would involve massive expenditure. Get 50% of expenses of the current police on this force. We are talking about a huge population that is sensitive, prime movers of culture and people who have better sense of justice.

It is time to come out of the mentality of those who think provocative dresses lead to rape; that men get provoked by seeing semi-naked women. Why is the reverse not true? Why should women be in burqas or stay at home just because men cannot control their libido? Dress has nothing to do with rape. It is the psyche that you can get away by doing anything that produces rapists.

The fear of law is missing. The process of  law has to be quick, fair and decisive. For this, a beginning has to be made with investigation and proper follow-up. This is not to say that this can be a replacement for a heavy dose of morality that is needed to respect women. But is not law a manifestation of that moral order?

* Graphic details of this photograph that reached us three days ago have been blurred, but सिर्फ़ News still advises readers’ discretion

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Sudesh Verma
Sudesh Verma
Member of the BJP's national media team, senior journalist and founder of Debating India Foundation

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