She’ teams in the city have been making quite an impact. The last time was when they caught a cab driver filming his passenger who fell asleep. While the Telangana police did their duty, it was reported that the lady was hesitant to file a complaint against the driver. The matter was then taken up by the software company she works for, that reported against the cab company they outsourced.
Another story is of Ghazala Syed, a homemaker who also runs a boutique that is registered online. Interested in making a bulk order, Zain Khan contacted her. Even after repeatedly telling him that she needs to know the details of the person, in order to pursue the contract, Zain did not respond. When she decided to drop the order, he sent her an inappropriate messages. Ghazala’s husband then took charge and called him which ended in an abusive argument.
Ghazala’s family pushed her to go and file a complaint against him as Zain had committed a cyber crime. After resisting for a long time, she finally decided to meet the additional commissioner of police, Swati Lakra. Two months later, Ghazala knows nothing about what happened to Zain, but she is at peace. She didn’t feel the need to find out, she says.
In both the cases, like number of other women in the city, they too were hesitant to approach the police.
While reasons of the first woman are unknown, Ghazala says, “There are hassles involved. I was scared that this wouldn’t stop with just filing the complaint. I was also worried they wouldn’t take me seriously,” she explains. Another victim, Kalyani (name changed) who felt violated when a middle-aged man was watching porn at the bus-stop pointing towards her, she called the police and went to the station. “I was at the station, about to file my complaint when my family members started calling me. Going that far is good enough a lesson for the man they emphasised and I had to return,” she says.
Archana Rao, a development professional who has frequented to the police station in pursuit of justice for the women she works with, explains she experienced all that Ghazala feared. “First of all we live in a society that teaches us to be scared of police, rather than feel safe around them. Then, we are told to solve matters at home rather than use the legal system. Braving all this, if a woman wants to take a step she is victimised,” she says. Considering all this, women feel that it is better to compromise.
Archana also adds that multiple visits to a place that doesn’t make you feel accepted adds to the agony. “Police officers work in shifts. When you go back to follow up on your case, you have to retell the story to another officer who is clueless,” she explains, adding that all women may not be comfortable in sharing their stories with strangers. While women express their concerns over exercising their rights, Swati Lakra assures that Telangana Police has been working towards sensitising the force towards women’s issues. “Unless people come and report to us we will not know. I agree that women are apprehensive and that some police officials are not sensitive enough to women’s complaints, but we are training them in that aspect,” she says adding, “If one is facing problems with lower officials, they are free to approach the higher ups whose contact details are available on the website.”