HYDERABAD: The Telangana State has not been big on women empowerment. Case in point, the recent State Cabinet formation that invited much criticism, with the Chief Minister choosing against even a token representation for women. It was not until he was hounded by media and activists on the matter, that K Chandrasekhar Rao announced his decision to induct two women in the next Cabinet expansion. It must, therefore, not be surprising that the attitude reflects on the system as well.
Ironic as it may be, though the Telangana Police Department has taken up several measures for women safety, only three out of over 700 Law & Order police stations in the State have a woman as a Station House Officer (SHO).
The situation is hardly different for Women Police Stations (WPS), with most of them not having a woman officer as SHO. Two Law & Order Police stations in Hyderabad and Cyberabad had women SHOs in the recent past, but they were replaced by men even before the completion of their term, for various reasons.
The issue gains prominence as the Law & Order police stations are the first points of contact between the department and the aggrieved public.
But across the State, women who approach police stations to file complaints are greeted by men. In an average, there are three women constables per station. In cases of sexual harassment, a woman officer helps the victims record their statement. However, the situation is worse at Cybercrime police stations where men are an overwhelming majority, making it difficult for women approaching the station to file complaints of harassment through social media, cyberstalking, etc.
Speaking to Express on condition of anonymity, a woman officer stressed that reservations for women in police recruitment were introduced only recently. “Before that, we were writing the same entrance examinations, undergoing the same academic and physical training. Moreover, our payment and promotions are also on par with the male officers. Then how can we not deliver as SHOs? We are completely able to fulfil the responsibilities of an SHO, if given the opportunity,” she said.
According to another officer, many women are not posted in Law & Order positions, thereby depriving them of opportunities. “Moreover, SHO positions at a police station needs lobbying and consent of the local public representative, not just capabilities and a good track record,” she added. “Even if the unit officer considers a woman for posting, he will have to bypass public representatives, which only a few dare to do,” she adds.
‘Shortage of women officers the reason’
According to officials, the reason for not enough women being posted as SHOs at police stations is simple -- there is a shortage of women officers in that rank. They claim that number of women officers are less and most are posted in wings that handle women issues. “The number is going to increase,” they further added.
21 women to be awarded on Women’s Day
Telangana would felicitate 21 wonder women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8. Among the awardees are strong women with illustrious contributions in their fields inciuding social service, folk art, entrepreneurship, etc. Kodapa Thukubai, a tribal woman from Adilabad, is one of the notable figures being felicitated .