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Unforgetable sacrifice

Bravo Kamlesh Kumari! K

amlesh Kumari! Is this name ringing a bell? No? Not many people know Kamlesh Kumari and therein lies the real tragedy of this country. Kamlesh Kumari, the braveheart police woman, died fighting terrorists who attacked Indian Parliament in 2991 lies unsung, while the mastermind behind the heinous attack, who went by the name Afzal Guru, has many a pseudo intellectual singing paeans to him. A constable with the CRPF, Kamlesh bagged the coveted Ashok Chakra award, the highest peace time award posthumously for her brave act of stopping the terrorists in December 2001. In fact, she is the only woman Ashok Chakra awardee in the country. Kamlesh was posted at Iron Gate No 1, just next to Building Gate No 11, which is the main entrance for VVIPs coming to Parliament. On December 13, 2001 at around 11.40 AM, she heard gunshots and grenade blasts. Kamlesh wasn't armed to fight anyone, least of all terrorists on a suicide mission. Despite this, she did not waver from her duty. Kamlesh was the first security person to walk up to the car that carried terrorists. Kamlesh, realising something


was amiss, ran towards the gate to shut it. The terrorists shot her killing her on the spot. Eleven bullets struck her in the belly killing her instantatiously. She died but her alertness ensured that the terrorists’ design stood completely foiled. Born in 1969, this girl from UP’s Sekandrapur joined the CRPF in 1994.

Her family comprised two daughters and husband Avdhesh. Today, sadly few remember her heroic sacrifice and this brave lady is a mere footnote that most people tend to overlook. Long live Kamlesh! FAIR media humbly dedicates this volume to her memory.


legendarY women warriors of india


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Bravery knows no gender. women, who hold up half the sky, are no less brave. in fact, women warriors have always made a name for themselves with their valour and bravery. kamalesh kumari, who braved bullets and made supreme sacrifice while protecting our parliament, is a case in point! Yet, she remains unknown, her sacrifice largely forgotten, her valour unremembered and her story unsung. this edition is an attempt to present the ‘other’ half of history – in fact, the ‘better’ half of history. women have shown time and again that they can excel everywhere and in all situations, be it kitchen or intelligence, from securing the borders to space programmes. as one senior woman ips said in this edition, for a man, the office is the world. But, for a woman, she has both the home and the world to manage. in these dual responsibilities, she continues to emerge victorious. there a few departments, where men can claim mere numerical dominance. Yet, a lot more needs to be done. a fitting reply needs to be given to violence and mindlessness. the time has come for the women to assert themselves. even as a minuscule minority, women have carved out a niche for themselves at workplace. the time has come for them to stand up and raise their voice. Bravehearts salutes these Brave Women!


Legendary Women Warriors of India


ndia has a glorious history of woman warriors. India has a tradition of worshipping the ferocious feminine form Durga and Kali as the slayers of demon Mahishasura and Rakta Beejasura. Even during the Vedic era, the women had taken to martial training. Rigveda speaks of queen Vishapala, who lost a leg in the battle, but continued to fight using iron prosthesis. Starting from the puranik Satyabhama, who slew demon Narakasura to the Rani of Jhansi who fought the British, the long list of woman warriors is as much a source of inspiration as it is a matter of pride. Their legendary fighting skills and tales of their valour are recounted even today. The nation gratefully remembers them and their sacrifices.

Unniyarcha of Kerala Kerala is replete with tales of feminine valour. Attummanammel Unniyarcha of the famous Puthooram Veedu Ezhava Chevekar family of Malabar, whose stories are part of Malayali folklore, is an expert in Kalaripayattu form of martial arts and was described as an expert in wielding Urumi, the waist belt like weapon.

SUrya Devi anD Parimala Indian history shows that the first Arab invader Mohammad Bin Qasim was killed by Surya Devi and Parimala Devi, daughters of defeated king of Sindh, Raja Dahir. This incident gets mentioned in several old historical texts.

razia SUltan Even as early as 1236 AD, Delhi sultanate was ruled by Raziya Sultana or Jalalat Uddin Razia. Razia led armies and waged battles. Wearing men’s tunic and headgear, she rode elephants and was at the head of her army. She was the daughter of slave king Iltutmish and was appointed Sultan of Delhi. A shrewd politician and a skilled warrior, she emerged as one of the most powerful rulers of Delhi. She may well be called as the first feminist as she refused the


epithet Sultana, which meant wife of the Sultan. She ordered that she be addressed as Sultan instead.

rani rUDrama Rani Rudrama Devi ws one of the most prominent rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty and ruled from 1261 to 1296. Though she was born, as Rudramba, to King Ganapathideva she was formally designated as a son and was given the male name of Rudradeva. When she was only fourteen years old, Rani Rudramma Devi succeeded her father and became known as an efficient ruler and administrator. She had successfully suppressed both uprisings within Kakatiya territory and incursions by neighboring kingdoms. An able fighter and dynamic ruler, Rudramba defended the kingdom from the cholas and Yadavas.

rani DUrgavati Another moghul era female ruler of great valour is the Gondwana queen Rani Durgavati. She took reins of governance in 1548 and ruled for nearly 16 years. She resisted the attempts of Moghul king Akbar to annex Gondwana. She led her forces against the invading army and fought with great skill and

bravery. However, her tribal armies could not withstand the Moghul onslaught. When her defeat stared her in the face, she chose death to dishonor and stabbed self. Even today, the Gondwana reverberates with the tales of her valour.

KelaDi chennamma This queen of Keladi region of Karnataka was an able administrator and a valiant fighter. She fought off the mighty armies of Aurangajeb. As a valorous queen, she decided to give shelter to Chatrapati Rajaram, son of Shivaji and refused Aurangjeb’s entreaties to hand Rajaram over to him. An angry Aurangjeb sent his armies but Rani was more than prepared to take them on. Heavy fighting ensued and Rani proved that she was more than a match to the Moghul armies. The Moghuls had to enter into a treaty to save face.

rani abbaKKa chowta Rani Abbakka Chowta was the Queen of Ullal and fought the Portugese in the 16th century. She belonged to the Chowta dynasty who ruled over parts of Tulunadu in coastal Karnataka The Portuguese made several attempts to


capture Ullal as it was strategically placed. But Abbakka repulsed each of their attacks for over four decades. For her bravery, she came to be known as Abhaya Rani She was also one of the earliest Indians to fight the colonial powers and is sometimes regarded as the 'first woman freedom fighter of India'.

KittUr rani chennamma Decades before the 1857 war of independence, Kittur Rani Chennamma raised a banner of revolt against the British down south. She was a valiant ruler of Belgaum state in Karnataka. Adept in horse riding, sword fighting and archery in her young age, she was married to Raja Mullasarja of Kittur. After the death of her husband and the only son, she adopted Shivalingappa as her son and made him heir to the throne. The British did not accept this


t was Vijaya Dasami in 2009, the day mighty demon Mahisha was felled by Durga, the primal mother. It was day of deliverance from terror and fear. Every devout celebrated the day with fervor and hope. ‘But in Shahdara Sharief, the badlands of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, where terrorist writ ran unhindered, it was Vijaya Dasami of sorts. A demure 20-year-old girl turned Durga and slayed a modern Mahishasura – a Paki terrorist. She axed him, snatched his gun and sprayed bullets at the terrorist killing him on the spot. Another terrorist was grievously hurt, while the third one fled leaving behind his gun. This Durga goes by the name Rukhsana Kausar. For years, Poonch, Rajouri and Naushera were the epicenter of Lashkar terrorism where rapes and brutalities were common. The people bore the brunt of terrorist atrocities. They suffered in silence, seethed in secrecy and sobbed in solitude. None dared to approach the cops for fear of terrorist reprisals. But, plucky Rukhsana changed it all. It was 9 PM on the night before


Durga of ‘Rajauri’

Vijaya Dasami. Armed terrorists swooped down on the Bhatti Mohalla of border village Shahdara Sharief. They banged at the door of Noor Hussain. They wanted her to frisk her away so they can enjoy her. Knowing their evil intentions, Noor Hussain refused to open the door. The terrorists broke open the window and gained an entry into the house. The militants began beating Rukhsana’s mother Rashida and son Aijaz Ahmed. Rukhsana, who was hiding, emerged suddenly and hit the marauder with an axe. The terrorist fell down immediately. The family members joined her in attacking the terrorists.

The other two terrorists panicked and tried to flee. But, Rukshsana snatched the rifle from an assaulter and fired at him. The second terrorist suffered injuries. In no time, the villagers joined the family and the terrorists fled never to return to Shahdara Sharief. It was after the police came that the villagers realized that the slain terrorist was Uzafa Shah, a dreaded Pakistani commander of the Lakshare-Toiba. The police was on the lookout for this dreaded man for the past four years. No doubt, there have been incidents of civilian bravery, but this was exceptional. This was the first ever case of a top militant being felled by a young woman. And this happened in an area where militants killed three policemen in an ambush a fortnight ago. Inspired by braveheart Rukhsana, more and more women are joining the village defence committees to obtain training in handling arms and fight out the terrorists. The Government awarded Rukhsana bravery award and presented her with cash award.


and ordered the expulsion of Shivalingappa. The Rani defied the order. A great battle ensued. The Rani fought the British with great courage and skill. She could not, however, hold out for long. She was taken captive and lodged in Bailhongal Fort where she breathed her last.

rani of JhanSi Jhansi’s Rani Laxmibai's courage, deeds of valour and her heroic battle against the British have become the theme of many a folklore and ballads in the country. She was an expert in horseriding and sword fighting. She became the leading light of the first war of independence in 1857. When both her husband Raja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi and her only son died in 1853, she adopted a son and made him the heir to the throne. The British refused to recognize her adopted son as the legitimate heir to the throne and ordered annexation of Jhansi into British Raj. They brought in the concept of doctrine of lapse to usurp her kingdom. Rani Laxmibai refused to accede to the vicious designs of the white invaders. A fierce fight ensued. The Rani fought the British leading her forces from the front and showed great courage and skill in the battle-field. She was fatally wounded in the battle and she breathed her last on June 18, 1858.

JalKari bai The folklore of Bundelkhand reverberates with the heroic exploits of Jalkari Bai. A village girl from Jhansi area, Jalkari Bai had striking resemblance to Rani of Jhansi and was used as a body double for her. Like the queen, Jalkari Bai was also full of valour and was already known to have killed a tiger with a single strike of an axe. During the British attack on Jhansi, Jalkari Bai joined Laxmi Bai in fighting off the white invaders. However, when the scales began to tilt in favour of the British, she convinced Laxmi Bai to escape quietly with the help of supporters. In a ploy to deceive the British, Jalkari bai dressed herself up



A ‘Kiran’ of Light

he had won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service. She had won the UN Serge Sotiroff Award, Joseph Beuys Award and Asia Region Award of the International Organisation of Good Templars for drug abuse prevention. She was Asian tennis champion. She founded and runs two NGOs – Navjyothi and India Vision Foundation. She was police advisor to the UN Secretary General in peacekeeping operations. She is the first and the highest ranking woman IPS in India. Post retirement, she is now active in anti-corruption movement. No marks for guessing. That’s the redoubtable and the one and the only Kiran Bedi. Perhaps the most decorated woman police officer in the world, she is known for her innovative yet effective approach to law enforcement and is famous for achieving stupendous success in conditions that are as tough as they are grueling. Kiran Bedi entered the police force in 1972 and retired in 2007. Her activities straddle a staggering range of interests. She is author, columnist, anchor, speaker and internationally acclaimed activist on crime prevention, drug abuse, police and prison reform and women issues. Today, Kiran Bedi is the leading light of anti-corruption movement. “The anti-corruption movement is about restoring public confidence in democratic India,” says she. Kiran, may her tribe increase!!!

like the Rani and took command of the army. By the time the British realized that it was Jalkari not Laxmi Bai, it was too late. Jalkaribai fought the British forces valiantly but was eventually forced to surrender. The British general, impressed by her loyalty, courage and fighting prowess treated her with respect and set her free.

rani avantibai Another great warrior from Bundelkhand was Rani Avantibai. She was a Lodh Kshatriya and strongly opposed the evil designs of the British to usurp her throne. The British had taken her kingdom under their court administration as her husband Vikramaditya Singh died leaving no heir to the throne. Rani Avantibai vowed to win back her husband Vikramaditya’s kingdom from the British. She raised an army of four thousand men and led it herself against the British in 1857. A fierce battle ensured and Avantibai fought valiantly. However, she found herself losing to the superior strength of

the British army. Before the British could get her, she killed self.

begUm hazrat mahal She was the wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shaw, the last ruler of Lucknow. As Begum of Avadh, she was known for her irresistible charm and inborn genius. She was famous for her organizational abilities. The British, who used the vicious doctrine of lapse to send her husband to exile in Kolkata, tried to drive away her too. But, she mobilized feudatories like Maharaj Balkishan, Raja Jailal, Mamon Khan and Sarafaddaulah and fought the British valiantly. She managed to regain Lucknow and install her son Prince Birjis Qadar as the king of Avadh. She joined forces with Nanasaheb Peshwa and Tatya Tope in the 1857 war. However, long-drawn battle forced her to retreat to safer havens. Even in defeat, she rejected every British promise of pardon and allowances. She then fled to Nepal, where she breathed her last in 1879.


Working against odds

WOMEN POLICING IN INDIA it is sadi “Women, they hold up half the sky.� Yet, woman policing is a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, women had to fight their way up in the police department world over. For years, women police were seen as inferior to their male counterparts and their duties were more custodial than policeoriented. Though incipient, the trend still continues. The US, which first used women for law enforcement way back in 1845, did not entrust regular police work to them. They were not even considered regular employees and only after a 58-year-long battle, women were given regular appointments in Chicago. By World War I, over 200 metropolises in the US had women police serving in various capacities. But, the women had to wait till 1973 to get equal employee opportunity thanks to a special enactment. Today, the woman police account for 12 per cent of the total force. In UK too, the story is much the same. It took the exigencies of World War I and II to make the governments think of recruiting women as police. Even today, as per the UN Survey of Crime Trends and Operation of Criminal Justice System, 2000, nowhere in the world do women account for 20 per cent of the total police force.

inDia – DiSmal recorD India has just 3.98 per cent women in its police force. The Bureau of Police Research and Development estimated in 2007 that there are around 30000 women police in the country. However, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs M Ramachandran had claimed that India had 93887 women in its 16.69 lakh


women in police departments make it more functional. there is a dire need to ensure a gradual induction of more women in police so as to inculcate a sense of security and equitable social order

The first ever all women police station inaugurated by Late Smt. Indira Gandhi, in Kerala in 1973 (file photo) strong police force. This may include those in clerical and other non-law enforcing jobs and the number of women in regular policing may be quite low. Their minuscule presence came to the fore in the wake of the recent Delhi gangrape forcing the Union Home Secretary to ask all the state governments to ensure that at least 33 per cent of the civil police were women. Consequently, Delhi decided to recruit 2508 police women additionally to augment its existing woman police strength of 5285. Karnataka too had announced that it would rope in 3000 more police women. Of the total 97051 police personnel in Karnataka, only 2826 are women. Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are slightly better with 15864 and 24,219

women police. The dubious record for least presence of women police, must, however, go to Uttar Pradesh. In UP, out of a total 1.87 lakh police personnel, only 2354 are women. What is worrying is the fact that there are not many takers for the woman police jobs. A survey by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative showed in 2007 that most women do not consider a career in law enforcing agencies. More worrisome is the fact that the attrition rate among women police constables is alarmingly high. For instance, Mizoram, which had no female police in 2009 recruited 437 women in 2010. By 2011, not a single woman police remained in service. There is no woman police in Daman and Diu.


Also, despite the growing crime, India has a mere 442 woman police stations. In Delhi, which has earned the dubious distinction of being the rape capital of India, there is not a single woman police station. 13 other Union Territories have no woman police stations. No wonder, the police are a part of the problem for lonely woman at night. No wonder, three fourths of the perpetrators of India’s 24,206 rapes in 2011 are still at large.

Pioneering effortS Kiran Bedi is the first woman IPS to be elected through the UPSC examination and it the highest ranking woman police official in the country. She is the most recognized face of the Indian police internationally. Similarly, the CRPF, a paramilitary force in India, has an exclusive female battalion. It was done in 1986 at the initiative of late Rajiv Gandhi. Today, women are recruited into the combat wings of other paramilitary forces like the BSF, CISF, ITBP, NSG and RPF. The dynamic nature of the job, the opportunity to demonstrate personal potential, employment opportunity etc have been prompting more and more women to join the police. Also, the democratic system needs women’s participation in every realm of social life, including the police force, to succeed and flourish. Hence, forwardlooking democratic regimes have always promoted women’s recruitment into the police forces. However, there are several critical issues. For instance, the women are under-represented at the level of leadership. Secondly, there is a need for capacity building. Organisations like the International Association of Women Police, based in the US, have been taking steps aimed at capacity building. Unfortunately, several senior women police officials sincerely feel that the approach to recruiting and training of women police officers is both inconsistent as well as unsystematic. They have been arguing for exchange of best practices in organisations and the governments to ensure equal


Kamalamma: Not ‘his’tory, but ‘her’ story


rail, infirm and 93-year-old she is. But, Kamalamma represents the most significant chapter of India’s woman policing. She is the first ever woman police in India. Way back in 1933, when woman were tightly leashed in their purdahs and shackled by stifling and inhibitory customs, this gritty lady donned the police uniform and policed around in taboo-ridden Travencore region of Kerala. In 1933, under a progressive Maharaja Chithira Tirunal Balarama Varma, the police department decided to recruit women police to nab women criminals, a farsighted move indeed. Then, Kamalamma – all of 18 and full of hope – went to the police department, went through all the rigorous tests and joined duties. She badly needed job as her father abandoned her and her siblings and Kamalamma had to take care of them. Her salary was a mere Rs 6 a month and her training was for full five years. There weren’t many woman police then so Kamalamma had to travel to different police stations to arrest women criminals. Though progressive, the Maharaja had ordained that the women police shall not marry. But, strange are the ways of love. They make one defy the toughest restriction and brave the fiercest opposition. Kamalamma fell in love with Bhaskaran Nair, another constable. They lived secretly (This could perhaps be the first ever case of live-in relationship in India). Soon, she became pregnant and lost the job. Kamalamma and Bhaskaran Nair never registered their marriage, but lived together all their lives and begot six children. Only after EMS Namboodripad became the CM in 1957 did she re-apply for the job. Both EMS and senior minister Gouri Amma liked her and reinstated her. She served the police for a decade and retired at 55. Quite unknowingly though, Kamalamma has created ‘his’tory with ‘her story.’

opportunities bereft of gender bias. Such practices, they feel, are not only useful for recruitment and training but also in deployments and career advancement of women police personnel.

challengeS galore While it is heartening to find that on entering the service, women cops manage to adequate support from their male counterparts. However, their capabilities, are at most times, are under-rated. The women police officers suffer from stereotyping, harassment and being perceived as weak and submissive. Unfortunately, negative publicity about their skills and capabilities and low self-esteem among the women police are also contributing

to their below-par performance in several cases. The second national conference for women in police, held in 2005 at Mussorie had made several key recommendation for mainstreaming of women in police. 8 Increase the representation of women in the police. All state forces and central police organisations should formulate definite policies in this regard and make aggressive efforts to meet these percentages, including converting posts meant for male police officers where necessary. 8 Formulate equitable, common and combined recruitment procedures with suitably differentiated physical


Jija Hari Singh, the only woman DGP


he only woman DGP, that’s how Jija Hari Singh is remembered. This Keralite retired as the DGP (Home Guards) in neighbouring Karnataka. Jija Hari Singh has many firsts to her credit. She was awarded the coveted President’s police medal. This 1975-batch IPS officer is a woman of many parts, an accomplished artiste author, painter, expert in Tanjore style works, voracious reader of everything that came her way, administrator and a top cop all rolled into one. Her career too is no less fascinating. In fact, it is full of twists and turns. A postgraduate in English and a journalism diploma holder, Jija Hari Singh had first worked in the ISRO, and then took to teaching at Maharaja College, Ernakulam. It was while teaching in this college that she got selected for the IPS course. Her first posting was that of an additional superintendent of police in the research wing. It was here that she did a study on Kiran Bedi, the first IPS in India. As the SP of Chitradurg, she waged a relentless battle against the matka cartels and made a name for herself.

standards. 8 Where recruitments, promotions or appointments are interview-based ensure that women officers are included in the interview boards. 8 A common cadre for men and women in the police. Terms like woman constable or lady police be done away with. 8 Entrust more women with mainstream duties of crime prevention and investigation. Supervisory officers at all levels be encouraged to entrust more women with mainstream duties and their efforts and sincerity on this front should form a part of their annual assessment. 8 Women recruits be put through the same induction training as their male counterparts. Common and combined training programmes be formulated. 8 Both men and women be imparted gender sensitization training, at the recruit level and through refresher and in-service modules several


Even today, the locals gratefully remember contribution. Later, she climbed up the IPS ladder quickly working in different assignments. Juggling between various responsibilities, she authored a book, organized Tanjore painting shows, held painting exhibitions to raise funds for Kargil Jawans and Odisha cyclone victims and is striving to set up an art village under the aegis of Mantram Art Foundation, of which she is the founder-president. Jija Hari Singh has had stints with the Airports Authority of India, Hotel Corporation of India, Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation and the Mysore Minerals Ltd. This gave her rare exposure to various things. The Businessline from the Hindu stable had this to say about Jija. “Like her Tanjore paintings, Jija’s life is carefully crafted, delineated workmanship, with layers of achievements, which make it meaningful and her personality is, of course, gilt-edged lending it a richness on her own. When asked what her success mantra was, she smilingly says: “You have the power and a job to serve. Do it well.”

times during their career. 8 More women be incorporated into the training staff of police training institutions. 8 A policy body with representation of senior women officers to suggest policy and procedures for induction, training, deployment and work environment. 8 Gender Audit and Gender Budgeting for women in police. It is important to realize that the skills required for performance of police duties are more often than not acquired and can be improved with time. Preparing and putting in place standard operating procedures at various levels and for different scenarios is also important. A more transparent system for establishment of protective mechanisms is also of critical importance. With their presence, women police make access of women, children and other sections of society easier in police stations. Women police personnel can influence major decisions such as

healthcare, personal relationships, dining habits, scholastic choices and opinion making in families and communities. They can be role models and help eliminate social taboos. Envision new ways of working with disadvantaged people in their community. Women police help create conducive environment for female victims and accused as well as juvenile offenders. They can thus go a long way in improving the image of police. Women police in association with Government and other social agencies can address community needs better. Every crime has a social reason and a social impact. Development therefore will prevent crimes and the presence of women police personnel can go a long way in improving the policing. Finally, it must be admitted that women in police departments make the police functional. There is a dire need to ensure gradual induction of more women in police so as to inculcate a sense of security and to provide equitable social order.


Women in Defence Forces



reaking one male bastion after another, Indian women are now storming the uniformed professions, including the Army, hitherto considered an exclusive male preserve. This should come as no surprise as we have a proud tradition of warrior queens like Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, Rudrama of Kakatiya Warangal, Ahilyabai of Holkar, Razia Sultana, Durgavathi, Avanti Bai, Kittur Chennamma, Keladi Channamma, Abbakka Mahadevi and Jhulkari Bai. We are only re-inventing the


Physically fit, active, regularly training for combat readiness, ability to lead and manage fairly large teams, exceptional levels of commitment and skills, woman in armed forces are now setting ever newer benchmarks. time and again, women have proved that they are mentally tougher and can handle stress admirably well.

already existing tradition of warrior women.

riSing nUmberS Each year, more and more women are opting to willingly accept the rough and tumble of the military life. Their number at present may be minuscule – only 1065 of the 35,377 army officers are women and mostly they work in noncombatant capacities. True, the Delhi High Court has turned down the plea for allowing women in combat operations,

but it had at the same time directed the government to treat the men and women at par while granting permanent commission in the Army and the Air Force. Presently, the Army has 12 woman officers on permanent commission, who are entitled to higher positions in the Army. Two female officers attained lieutenant general equivalent ranks in the navy and air force recently. Since 1992, the armed forces have allowed women to join as regular officers


Women in the medical stream, however, serve as permanent commissioned officers.

mentally toUgh

in positions relating to aviation, logistics, engineering and executive wings. This opened the flood gates and increasingly women are storming the essentially male-dominated armed forces. Used to seeing women only as nurses and doctors, the army men initially found it extremely difficult to treat women as equals. But they began to respect the women officers soon after learning that women who joined the Armed forces truly want to painstakingly carve out a

women in armeD forceS – eligibility criteria • • •


Women can work in the armed forces as officers for a maximum of 14 years. The age limit is 20 to 27 years. Woman can join the Army by clearing the CDS exam and the SSB interview after their graduation. After the completion of their commission, they enjoy the same benefits that accrue to ex-servicemen. But, they do not get pension.

niche for themselves. Currently, women in non-medical military cadre serve as short service commissioned officers serving for a period ranging between 5 and 14 years.

recrUitment of women The women are serving in the following departments of the triservices:

army 8 8 8 8 8 8

EME, Signals, Engineers Army Education Corps Army Ordnance Corps Army Service Corps Intelligence Judge Advocate General’s Branch

navy 8 All branches of Navy excluding submarines and divers.

airforce 8 Flying 8 Technical 8 Administration

coaSt gUarD 8 All Branches.

Physically fit, active, regularly training for combat readiness, ability to lead and manage fairly large teams, exceptional levels of commitment and skills, woman in armed forces are now setting ever newer benchmarks. Time and again, women have proved that they are mentally tougher and can handle stress admirably well. Their power of endurance can outrun their male colleagues. But, there are several challenges that women officers in uniform have to surmount. For instance, they may have to contend with subordinates who are as old as their parents, putting their leadership and man-management skills to rigorous test. The very nature of work in armed forces is arduous and grueling, often working in difficult conditions and inhospitable terrains. Take for instance, 35-year-old Shanti Tigga, who has outperformed her male counterparts in physical endurance to join 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army. Her gun handling skills had deeply impressed the firing instructors. Though women are not allowed to be recruited in combat units, Shanti Tigga broke the barrier and became the first lady jawan in the 1.3 million strong defence forces. However, it must be said with pride that Indian army treats its woman officers reasonably well. There could be some black sheep here and there, but in general, Indian Army’s record has been commendable vis-a-vis woman officers. Despite the harsh conditions and issues of gender discrimination, only 10 women officers have left the army before completing their minimum contractual service.

wSeS Scheme When the women special entry scheme (WSES) was introduced in the army in 1992, the response was stupendous. There were over 1899 applications for 59 vacancies. Presently,


there are 5137 women officers in the triforces, including 4101 in the Army, 784 in the Air Force and 252 in the Navy. In the event of women working for 14 years and subject their physical fitness, a woman can climb up to the level of lieutenant colonel. Today, women are being sent to forward areas, with the exception of frontline combat conditions where the minimum privacy that women officers need cannot be provided with. “This is the reason why women officers have not been inducted into infantry, armoured corps and artillery,” said former Army Chief VP Malik. He proudly admits to the capabilities of women soldiers in a writeup in The Indian Express in 2006: “Women officers have accepted the ever-increasing challenges of working conditions in the army with courage and determination. I have observed them commanding men, sophisticated machines, and establishments with confidence and elan.” True, there is this debate over permanent commissioning of women officers in tri-services and the streams in which they could be recruited. But, with the armed forces already facing a shortage of 13000 in officer level, the government may soon extend permanent commission for women in more streams.


Maj. Madhumita

Tough as diamond, soft as a flower! February 26, 2010. Kabul, the embattled Afghan capital. Suddenly, there was a massive explosion at the Indian facility in Noor Guesthouse in the highly secure diplomatic zone in Kabul. Moments after the deafening blast, sickening sounds of the building caving in were heard and following them were desperate wailings for help. Two kilo metres away there was another guesthouse where 34-year-old Mitali Madhumitha was staying. She was rudely jolted by the sound of the blast. Jolted she was, but not in the least shaken. She ran out to reach out to her colleagues. That she was unarmed did not matter to her. What mattered to her were the lives of her colleagues. Madhumita was the first to reach the explosion spot and the first to inform the Indian Embassy of the attack. There was incessant gunfire between the security forces and the Talibans. Braving the hail of bullets, she pulled out those trapped under the debris and rushed them to the hospital. Major Mitali Madhumita, who led the Army’s English Language Training Team in Kabul, displayed exemplary courage, grit, determination and valour beyond the call of duty to save many lives. For this exemplary feat, she was selected for the gallantry medal. On February 25, 2011, General Officer Commanding-in-chief of South Western Command Lt. Gen SK Singh gave away the award. She is the first ever woman to win the coveted army medal. A post-graduate in English, Major Madhumita joined the Educorps of the army as a short service commissioned officer in 2000 and had worked on instructional assignments in Jammu Kashmir and Panchmarrhi before going to Kabul on an exclusive mission. She hails from Odisha and is the eldest of the three sisters.


Women in Police

More awareness needed: Aruna Bahuguna Think Aruna Bahuguna, words strength, sensitivity, success and staying power come to mind. She is the first IPS and the senior most woman police officer in the state and is the chairperson of the AP Police Housing Corporation Limited. A 1979-batch IPS officer, Aruna Bahuguna firmly believes that the police force is a place where one really can make a difference to society at all levels. Here she talks to on what it means to have women in the police force.


hat does entry of women in law enforcing agencies mean vis-Ă vis crimes against women? arUna bahUgUna: The entry of women in law enforcing agencies has made a huge impact on society. Firstly, their presence has served to boost the confidence of women, resulting in several victims coming forward to register cases against crimes ranging from eve-teasing, molestation, rape, sexual harassment at the workplace, domestic violence, dowry harassment and more. They feel reassured they will be heard sympathetically and will receive justice. Secondly, awareness has also increased among women and men about the provisions of Law and the avenues available for justice. However, comparitive statistics are difficult to interpret, as the scenario has undergone a change in that women are now not hesitant to register complaints, which was not the case earlier.


s the first woman IPS officer in Andhra Pradesh, what is your experience vis-a-vis prevention of crimes against women? arUna bahUgUna: AP has come a long way, as has the country, since 1979, when I joined the IPS. There are now legal provisions for a wide range of crimes against women, while the


viewed relatively sympathetically.



s is true that male dominance stifles women in Police department? What are your experiences? What kind of support did you get from your male colleagues and bosses in handling various issues? arUna bahUgUna: The Department continues to be male dominant in terms of numbers. A policy in career planning for women keeping in view mainstreaming and lifestyle management along with the stages of a woman's life would go a long way in enhancing the performance of women in the Department.


Aruna Bahuguna,


State has encouraged women to emerge from their shells and speak out against offences. The Police Department has also undergone a metamorphosis in its thinking. Gender sensitization has led to a change in the male attitude towards women in general; working women and crimes against women such as demands for dowry, domestic violence and sexual offences. Victims of gender bias are

o you encourage women from the younger generations to enter into the police services? arUna bahUgUna: Women are now coming forward to enroll in the Police department. It is important that they be empathetic towards all sections of society. The work schedule is grueling, pressures are tremendous and expectations are high. They should consider these. Balancing the family and the demands of this career is difficult. Sacrifices are tremendous. I think the media plays an important in role in highlighting the plight of women, it should strive to increase awareness and help encourage women at all levels.


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Tejdeep Kaur Menon,



First-ever woman Home Minister in India A

ffable and unassuming, Sabitha Indra Reddy looks anything but the first-ever female home minister anywhere in India! But, for the past four years, she has been steering the ship of law and order like an expert anchorwoman through troubled times. As the first woman Home Minister, Sabitha is an inspiration for others. This Chevella Chellemma’s stint came at a time when the state was beset with riots, terror attacks and popular separatist movement. But, like a true leader that she is, she steadied the law and order with soft but firm decisions. Handling the crucial law and order is a daunting task and additional responsibilities like general police administration, jails and correctional services, fire and emergency services and sainik welfare occupy most of her


time. “It’s so thrilling that I have become the home minister, a post once held by my late husband Indra Reddy,” Sabitha says humbly. “I have never imagined even in my dream that I will be made the home minister. I am trying to live up to the expectations and discharge my duties efficiently,” she adds. Catapulted into the political arena post the tragic death of her husband, Indra Reddy, she has since been elected thrice to the legislative assembly and has the distinction of being undefeated in her political career. In 2004 she was made the minister for information technology, mines and infrastructure. In 2007, she was appointed the minister for mines and geology, handlooms and textiles in the Cabinet reshuffle. In 2008

elections, Sabita was elected from Maheshwaram constituency and went on to become the home minister. Curbing terrorism and crimes on women have been her top priorities. The law and order situation was well under control in the state over the last five years. She handled the separatist movement in parts of the state with both firmness and sympathy and brought the situation well under control. As a woman politician and the first-ever woman home minister, Sabitha Indra Reddy is an inspiration for others. Under her regime, the recruitment of women police has seen a remarkable spurt. But, Sabitha Indra Reddy does not rest on her laurels and is ever eager to improve her performance so that she lives up to the expectations of the people.




if we continue the same old conventional ways of doing things, we present no challenge to the issue of gender discrimination, argues senior iPS officer b radhika in this exclusive article for crUcaDer. it is only by changing the practices and challenging the underlying ideology that we can ensure a transformation towards gender equality, she says.


s per the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by India in 1993, violence against women means “any act of gender based violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” Violence against women can broadly be categorized into three areas: Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the family. This includes battering, verbal abuse, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowryrelated violence, torture, spousal and non-spousal violence. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the general community. This includes rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation at work place, trafficking of women and forced prostitution. Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State wherever it occurs. Violence against women is committed both by men and women, because of a mindset that regards women as objects without any individuality and as subordinate to men. Though many ancient societies had worshipped the God in feminine form as the ‘Mother Goddess’, the dominant


religions and established scriptures have played an important role in assigning subordinate position to women. Violence against women basically stems from their unequal positions in a patriarchal society, which cuts across both class and community. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Subjugation and exploitation of women takes place due to men’s interested teachings and women’s acceptance of them.” It is necessary to understand the overall context of discrimination, in order to appreciate the causes of this issue. Right from the days before birth through death, a girl faces discrimination at every stage of her life. With the advancement of science and availability of prenatal sex determination techniques, she is stopped even from being born, through the termination of pregnancy. The birth of a male child is ceremoniously celebrated in most parts of the country. For example, in some parts of Rajasthan, it takes the form of banging a ‘thali’ to announce to the community

the news of his arrival. In contrast, the news of the birth of a girl child is not given much importance. The social basis for such practices could be the idea of the male as a ‘bread-winner’. Since, the boy child is the repository of the aspirations of the family, his access to resources is guaranteed. Preference for the males is evidenced in feeding practices of young children. Even in the so-called advanced states like Punjab, studies have revealed that 75% of the severely malnourished children in the age group 0 to 5 years are girls. In most Indian families, the women take their food after the men have eaten. In poor families, thus the quantity of food available for the women gets limited. The practice of female infanticide is prevalent even now in Rajasthan, southern Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Female infants are killed in some families by inflicting wounds, suffocation, starvation and feeding of poisonous herbs. While this is the position in rural areas, sex determination tests followed by abortion in case of female foetus take


place even in some well-to-do and educated urban families. The ostensible reason is that a girl child involves payment of a heavy dowry eventually and that a girl is a ‘liability’. This reasoning does not take into consideration the possibilities of social change enabling a girl to realise her creative potential in various fields. The manner in which the children of either sex are brought up also adds to the reinforcement of discrimination. While the boy’s education takes priority in middle class families, the girl is made to learn how to do household chores patiently, regardless of their relative strengths or aptitude in education. Similarly in sports, girl children are not given the encouragement. Even the choice of playthings and toys is determined by stereotyped and unconscious social conditioning. Girl child is expected to take care of other younger siblings as the poor parents go out for work. As the children grow up,


IPS who testified against Advani

t needs great courage to stand up to the high and mighty and Anju Gupta has ample of it. Three years after her deposition against BJP biggie LK Advani in the case pertaining to the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya, her name might not ring a bell to many. But that she shook the former deputy prime minister and hogged media headlines on her day is indisputable. Anju Gupta, a 1990 UP cadre IPS officer has always been known for her no-nonsense approach. As a top cop in Lucknow, she cracked down on the criminal networks in the city. Her services were recognized and she was decorated with the police medal in 2009. She had also played an important role in counter-human trafficking activities in the country. However, her passport to fame


when the family is not in a position to bear expenses for education, the girl drops out from the school. The emphasis shifts to the issue of marriage of the girl. Even today it is a distant

was her deposition against Advani on March 26, 2011. She was on security duty on the fateful December 6, 1992, when the disputed structure was brought down. She said Advani did nothing to stop the demolition. She had also said that he had made fiery speeches moments before the demolition and that he did nothing to stop incendiary leaders Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Ritambhara from making inciting speeches. She further said that BJP MP and VHP strongman Vinay Katiyar tried to send her away from the dais twice. Her deposition created ripples in the country. Anju was married to 1989 batch IPS officer Safi Ahsan Rizvi, who is an Officer on Special Duty to Union Minister P Chidambaram. Postdeposition, Anju too was moved to the Home Ministry.

dream for educated household to find a suitable boy for their girls, without the demand of dowry, despite the girl being educated and having a career of her own. Similarly, a girl does not often get her share in inheritance of family property despite favourable inheritance laws. Ostensibly the justification given is that a son is expected to take care of parents in old age. But in many cases this expectation is not realized. It is a fact of increasing concern that the traditional system of care for the elderly is crumbling down. It is a misconception to think that violence against women occurs only in poor and illiterate families. The women coming from educated and middle class or well-to-do families are also falling prey to the dowry-related harassment as also victimisation at work place etc. The offenders in such cases are also educated and financially sound. In poor households, women face different kinds of discrimination like less payment of wages, lack of awareness of family planning methods, larger families, misbehavior by drunk husband and being abandoned by the husband etc. India has an impressive set of progressive laws and constitutional provisions for the protection of women. State cannot show discrimination between men and women in view of the right to equality being enshrined as a


fundamental right in the Constitution. Special provisions can be made and have been made to protect the interests of women. This equality sanctioned by the Constitution does not get translated into reality for millions of women suffering from violence within their homes, at work place and in educational institutions etc. A close look at the implementation of various laws and the functioning of criminal justice system shows that violence against women continues unabated. The situation is further complicated by illiteracy and lack of awareness among women, poor outreach of legal services and the fact that much of the violence takes place within the four walls of the house by people who are almost always close relatives of the victim. Insensitive law enforcement agencies including some doctors and some members of the judiciary, long years of legal battles, expenses involved in seeking justice, social ostracism and ineffective support system are the main constraints facing Indian women seeking justice. There are broadly seven kinds of women-specific offences defined under the Indian Penal Code. They are: Section 376 (Rape) Sec 363 to 373 (Kidnapping and abduction for different purposes) Sec 302/304 B (Homicide for dowry /dowry deaths or other attempts) Sec 498-A (Mental or physical torture to married women) Sec 354 (Outraging the modesty of a woman) Sec 509 (Sexual harassment) Sec 3-66 B (Importation of girls upto 21 years of age) There are also other important laws, which aim at addressing crimes against women. They are: Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 Immoral Traffic(Prevention) Act, 1956 Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 Pre-natal diagnostics (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994


A Naga girl becomes top cop


er people were once feared headhunters. Skulls adorned their walls to tell about the exploits of her ancestors. Her tribesmen waged a bitter war against the Government of India for decades. But, today she is an IPS officer out to protect law and order and owes her allegiance to the very Government that her elders fought against. Yes. Amongla Aier is the first ever Naga woman to become an IPS officer. Since 2006, she has been part of the Madhya Pradesh cadre and is currently serving as Indore city police superintendent. Thus, this petite woman police officer’s name would forever be etched in the history. She joins the distinguished league that comprises first Naga Woman IFS officer Ajungla Jamir and first Naga woman to edit a daily newspaper Monalisa Changkija. Aier, whose father I.Toshitsungba Aier is a distinguished IAS officer himself, too wanted to Child marriage Restraint Act, 1976. In India the crimes against women are on the rise. There is reason to believe that many cases are not being reported and several cases reported are not being allowed to be registered. There is also a possibility that cases are registered in some cases, but inappropriate sections of law are mentioned so that the perpetrator would attract less stringent punishments. The protective framework of law has broadly remained a paper assurance. The different wings of criminal justice system have remained ineffective due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons and some suggestions are given below: i There is a great element of gender insensitivity among police officers. They are mostly men and they have developed a mindset because of social conditioning, with a notion

become an IAS, but was selected for IPS. “I feel may be I was destined to be where I am and perhaps there is a greater plan of God for me to be in this service, than other service,” she says. A graduate from Patkai Christian College, Nagaland, she did her PG in sociology from Delhi School of Economics. She was chosen to lead the official Independence Parade of Madhya Pradesh. Working in Naxal-dominated Madhya Pradesh calls for great leadership and courage and Aier has ample of it. “The times have changed. The role of police has not only become difficult, but also challenging what with the increasing threat to internal security from terrorist activities, communalism, regionalism and Naxalism. There is a dire need for an effective leadership in the police,” She says. Kudos to this young police officer from the frontier state of Nagaland!! that women are inferior or subordinate to them. Because of this mindset, the women complainants are not given timely hearing. Further, due to ignorance, lack of interest or due to sheer burden of works of higher priority, the women-specific crime is handled perfunctorily, because of which most of the cases end in acquittal. Due to this insensitivity, women complainants do not find it worthwhile to approach the police. ii The all –pervading gender insensitivity affects some doctors, the prosecution lawyers and some members of the judiciary too. iii Violence against women is a social evil. 55 years of working of the constitution has shown that criminal justice system alone cannot bring about the desired impact. The issue needs to be tackled at the root level







i.e. the overall gender discrimination, of which violence is only a symptom that manifests in a few cases. This calls for convergent efforts in all walks of life, including addressing the school curriculum for enabling the children to imbibe the right values. Also involvement of active NGOs is needed to bring about the desired social change. There is an urgent need for gender sensitivity training for police officers, lawyers, doctors, members of judiciary among others. There is an important need to mainstream women within the police force, so that they are not merely given tasks that are essentially ornamental in nature. They should be encouraged to take up as diverse and challenging tasks as their male counterparts do. This will not only improve the efficiency of the police force, but will also give the right signals to women at large. In sexual assault cases and cases of domestic violence, it is necessary to ensure proper follow-up with the victim. More coordination with NGOs and non–police agencies is required till the trial is over and the victim is rehabilitated. The ongoing effort of Odisha Government of having a ‘Mahila and Sishu Desk’ at the police station level is extremely significant as it has the potential to bring about a positive change at the cutting edge level.

Archana Ramasundaram, the activist IPS


rchana Ramasundaram is the first woman to become a joint director of the CBI, the premier investigating agency of the country. A 1980 batch IPS officer, she shot into fame for probing the Telgi fake stamp scam. She is supervising 48 other high profile cases, including the inter-state arms licence scam, cases under the Official Secrets Act against the Reliance group and molestation case against an additional DG of Haryana Police. She is the recipient of the prestigious President’s police medal for distinguished service. But, more than anything else, it is her passion for fighting crimes against women that has earned her the sobriquet ‘Activist IPS.’ "The essence of my career as a policewoman for the last twenty-two years has been all about caring and controlling - caring for women and controlling those who harm them," Archana Ramasundaram puts it succinctly. As a female police officer, Archana Ramasundaram has made it her mission to improve the way in which the police force handles violence against women. "Fundamental changes are needed in concept, attitude, training and, above all, motivation to bridge the wide gap between enactment of laws and their implementation," she says.

viii ix



This effort needs to be backed up by adequate provision of finances. Responsive health care is needed for victims of violence. Every household must make efforts to bring up children of both sexes without any discrimination in a gender sensitive environment. Gender sensitive educational curriculum and reorientation of teachers is required. Equal property rights, joint matrimonial property rights are to be

ensured. xii Social and economy legislation like Equal Remuneration Act should be implemented. xiii Mother should be the natural guardian of the child. Though a Supreme Court judgment has given a positive verdict on this, it is yet to be implemented properly. xiv Pre-marital and marital education is required for youth and newly married couples so that a woman is valued and her ambitions and aspirations are respected. xv Supreme Court guidelines should be implemented on formation and effective functioning of committees to deal with harassment cases in Government and other organizations. If we continue the same old conventional ways of doing things, we present no challenge to the issue of gender discrimination. It is only by changing the practices and challenging the underlying ideology that we can ensure a transformation towards gender equality. (The Author is senior IPS Officer & presently working as IG, NCRB, New Delhi)


Woman police in AP


more and more women are showing interest in joining the police force and serve the country. even highly qualified women – those with medical, engineering, mca and mbas – are joining the police force these days. it is time to stop the ad hoc recruitment pattern and go in for a systematic system


ne step forward, two steps backward – that sums up the woman police story in Andhra Pradesh. Today, it boasts of senior woman top cops like Aruna Bahuguna, Tejdeep Kaur Menon, Soumya Mishra and Anuradha, who have become household names. But the women constables continue to languish in respect of recruitments, promotions and postings. There is a growing demand for greater deployment of women police to deal with law and order situations, but the strength of woman police wing is grossly inadequate. There is an urgent need to



augment the strength of woman police. However, we have a strange system in Andhra Pradesh, which is highly skewed. For instance, for each post of male constable, there are 0.4 posts for promotion. For female constables, the promotion posts for each woman constable are a shockingly low 0.05 per cent. Thus, the promotion prospects for women are far too less than their male counterparts. The Ditto with woman SIs and DSPs. Though women police have been there since 1950, it took 50 years for a woman to become a DSP. What more, the service rules prescribe separate cadre for women CIs, women Sis, women ASIs, women head constables and constables. They cannot be promoted against the posts of men CIs, Sis, ASIs and constables. Women’s entry into police department in Hyderabad began in 1950, when a batch of 16 women was recruited. Another 32 were recruited later in the same year. A batch of 6 women was directly recruited to the head constable position. They were called Haseens, a typically sexist epithet. Since then, the recruitment of women was always a trickle till 1971, when the government felt the need to have women police in Vizag and Vijayawada too. Yet, it must be said that the recruitment of women had always suffered from an ad hoc approach and did not have any farsighted perspective. The less said about the women SIs the better. The first woman SI was recruited in 1950. She worked for decades as a police and eventually retired without registering even a single case. For the next 38 years, there was no recruitment of women SIs. It was only last year that the Government of Andhra Pradesh has decided to fix the strength in each cadre to adjust the additional strength of women inspectors at 73, women SIs at 250, women ASIs at 309, women HCs at 557, constables at 2072. In the same year, career advancement programmes




ace book has a fan page dedicated to her. There were angry protests when she was transferred. “Thank you very much. You have been a tigress and a champ and I will be indebted to you all my life for believing in me, as a woman,” is what a 37-year-old rape victim – mother of two children told her when she cracked the February 6, 2011 rape case and took on the high and mighty. . That’s Damayanti Sen, the first woman joint commissioner of police (crime) of Kolkata for you. Wiry frame and boyish hair cut belies her inner strength and mental toughness. You will feel the steel when you engage her. Sen joined the police force in 1996, after doing her bachelors and masters in economics from Jadavpur University. Married to Rajat Shubhro Sen, a teacher, and mom to young a sprightly young boy, she is known for her low profile and tough actions. The call of duty and the pledge to serve the underdog made her take on mighty Mamata Banerjee, the mercurial and temperamental CM of West Bengal. Damayanti probed the infamous Park Street rape case. She had to contend with a CM who hurled a diktat saying the rape case was concocted. The ministers rooted for the rapists. But, as a top cop, Damayanti bashed on regardless.

have been opened for women. More and more women have shown interest in joining the police force and serve the country. Even highly qualified women – those with medical, engineering, MCA and MBAs – are joining the police force these days. It is time to stop the ad hoc recruitment pattern and go in for a systematic system. A higher number of women police is the need of the hour particularly in view of the growing participation of

Her team’s probe convinced her that it was a rape and Damayanti proclaimed it. She stood by the rape victim. The three perpetrators of the rape – Lavi Gidwani, Sharafat and Azhar – had strong political connections. The prize for cracking the infamous Park Street rape case was a transfer to Barrackpore as deputy inspector general of police (training), considered a garage posting for any Indian Police Service officer. Not content, the politicos dispatched her as DIG of the troubled Darjeeling range, beset with Gurkha separatist violence. This was seen by many as a clear attempt to put her in troubled waters. But, daring Damayanti couldn’t care less. She decided to bash on regardless.

women in protests, rising number of women criminals, which involves escorting them to courts and prisons and growing crimes against women and girl child. There is also a dire need to create a woman police force that can tackle terror and militancy situations. Greater awareness among the women police personnel about IPC, CrPC, Evidence Act and other relevant acts is the need of the hour.



Aruna Roy

women police need to break the stereotypes. they are politically neutral and can act without fear or favour. as young and competent women police officers, they can effectively fight against injustices. they can kindle comparison and the feeling of forgiveness, says social activist aruna roy.


t is a joy to be with women in uniform. I and the women in uniform have many things in common but are different in ways more than one and that is what makes life so interesting. Also, I don’t think there is much difference between IAS and the IPS. We at the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan have made friends with the police station during our various campaigns in Rajasthan and Delhi. Police have realized that we do not intend to fight them and that our fight actually is with the persons who control the system while remaining behind the scene. I feel sorry that the police, especially the women friends in uniform, that sometimes they become the baton that the government uses to beat us. As a result, we end up fighting you rather than fighting for the cause. Think police, the image built by the bollywood films comes to the mind. The police are often stereotyped and I think it is extremely important that we create the image of police as a protector, a person who appears and sounds like a friend and not someone from whom people prefer to keep away out of fear. I never feared police. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that I was in the IAS. I always feel reassured on


seeing the police. In fact, I have many friends in the police department. I believe the police are a much maligned service and are criticized for more than its share of mistakes.

role in DeveloPment Social development is becoming increasingly difficult in India. We are increasingly becoming narrower in our approach and attitude. As a young girl aspiring for IAS, I was told that I should never try to become one as I would be robbing a man of his rightful job. As a woman, I was made to feel I was somehow inferior. In places like Haryana, there are honour killings if a woman marries someone from a caste that is lower in the hierarchy. A father kills puts her daughter to sword in the name of caste honour and feels proud that he had done what he had done. He

is jailed, but his family feels he did the right thing by killing daughter. As police officers, women have to prove not only the power of their uniform, but should also bring out the feminine side. I am always proud to be a woman. I have learnt that women are strong and that woman can dwell in many layers. As police officers women should preserve all their feminine qualities and understand discrimination. There is discrimination everywhere, even in progressive states like Kerala, where women cannot enter some temples. In Kerala – a state that I admire so much, I found to my dismay that women get lower wages. We know what it means to be discriminated against. But, as police officers are women discriminated against? They are. That is why women police officers’ conferences are being organised. Regardless of whether they are in the uniform, they should escalate issues of gender bias to the press and raise the issues. How they deal with these issues and how they listen to such issues of bias and discrimination will show how they solve these problems. A louder statement needs to be made on the issue of gender bias. Some of the police women do a better job than male counterparts. They


need to be not just better than men, but should be the best police persons. A good police person is a friend and a compassionate individual. He or she stands for the rule of law and is helpful. A police is a protector. When these values are reaffirmed, the Indian Police will really change its image. This facilitates social development. When the police reach out to the community, they get welcomed. The police are loved in many places. They are looked up to. But, there is a dire need to create an image and use the strength to deal with the issues pertaining to democracy. They should deal with caste, minorities and gender issues. They need to break the stereotypes. I believe women police officers are politically neutral and can act without fear or favour. As young and competent women police officers, they can effectively fight against injustices. They can kindle comparison and the feeling of forgiveness. As a district magistrate I heard horrifying stories of women being picked up from the street and beaten up after being sent to Nari Niketans. At most times, I found that they were not accompanied to the court by women police personnel. I believe we need to handle them with care and concern. One should at least pay heed to their tales of neglect and suffering. During out hearings of testimonies of those who suffered Gujarat riots, we heard that a young woman was gangraped at 11AM on a street in Ahmedabad with 600 people watching! I consider it most appalling. Such horrific things happen only when paralysis sets in among the public. We are worse than the most abominable criminals when we watch crimes happening before our eyes and do nothing to stop it! We became sadists! Preventing such crimes and breaking such crowds is very important. Their position and authority gives them the power to work proactively. As part of empowering social development, women officers should strongly oppose moral policing. A motley group of people cannot decide on what is our culture and how should one dress.


Gritty Geeta Johri


ay back in 1992, this indomitable woman stormed into the Popatiawad den of dreaded mafia don Abdul Latif in Ahmedabad’s Dariyapur. Though Latif managed to give a slip, his gunman Sharif Khan was nabbed. In 1998, as a DIG in Gandhinagar, she took on political biggies and suffered punishment posting to the Vadodara police training academy. In 2006, she headed the probe into Sohrabuddin encounter case and her investigations have led to the arrest of DIG DG Vanzara, SP RK Pandian. She was ready for a showdown with the big stars on the

Can’t women stand together as one community against such atrocities? A quote from a feminist says: “My life is a revolution because as a woman I struggle every minute, I fight for equality in my family, I fight or equality in the society and fight for equality in the eyes of the law, I fight for quality everywhere. In this revolution all of us are one because we are born women. “Yes. Our age, uniform and activism are all secondary. We are women first. If this bonding becomes stronger, I think many things can be achieved. Feminism has been a wonderful thing and it should not limit itself to mere slogans. Feminism also says that ‘personal is political for woman’. When a family tries to burn alive their girl, she doesn’t go to the police station because she thinks it is her personal life. But, in this case, personal is political and if she undermines the political issues, she can’t be saved. There are so many other things that are personal, but become political for us; so women should understand the need for crossing barriers, for breaking and shifting boundaries. We live in a democracy and it is

political horizon to prove that the encounter was fake. That’s Geeta Johri, the first woman officer of Gujarat. A 1982 batch IPS officer, she has always been in the news. Johri's career graph has been a turbulent wave — crashing with the same speed it went up. While her work in unraveling politico-police nexus got her accolades, the chargesheet that she filed before the sessions court in the case came in for severe criticism. Finding fault with her handling of the case, the Apex Court had in fact directed that the case be taken up by the CBI.

important remember that reacting in favour of truth may well be the beginning of a great change. Let me quote my favorite author and poet, who is a South African and whose writings influenced Mahatma Gandhi. These three have become a mantra for me. He said that democracy is speaking truth to power and making truth powerful and power truthful. When we speak truth to power, which is an assembly of hundreds and thousands of people on the street, what we do is create power. One may not have the same popularity as that of politicians or one may be a civil servant trapped behind the barriers. But, when we get to interact with the people, speaking truth is as essential. The police personnel, specially the women officers, should not be forced to be in violent frame all the time. Many times, they need to initiate a dialogue with the protesters. This could end in realizing greater unity among the women fighting for a change. (Aruna Roy is an IAS-turned-social activist. This is the gist of her inaugural address at the All India Woman Police Officers Conference.)


Indian women


rom the times immemorial, woman is considered weak and fragile. The societal practices considered women unimportant and confined to home, Religions speak that man and woman are made equal. Islam considers woman as half a man. Hindu religion speaks that God dwells in the land where the women are honored. Christianity tells that from the man is the woman made and that she needs to be honored. There are tales of valor and prowess of women in our country from the Vedic times till the recent, still we see and hear the incidents of exploitation of women. Though there is a visible and evident transition in the minds of women, the think-tank of our country still needs to change their perspective regarding women. It cannot be said that all is well with regarding the female population in our country with everyday reports of insecurity, crime against women, malnutrition and female infanticide.

feminine inSecUrity The Biological basis for women’s insecurity is their relative physical weakness. Their major biological role as the gender responsible for the survival of the species has made them totally incapable of effective self-defense. Fear of rape and unwanted pregnancy, social customs and practices and threat of exploitation have driven women into the inevitable need of shelter in the form of father, husband and son for protection. Apart from this the objective conditions such as the financial dependency and


Parimala Hana Nutan

confidence being instilled in women is not only helping them to voice out against the injustice meted out to them, but is also helping women police officers to achieve their law enforcement career goals and to play an active role in prevention of domestic violence and crime against women. writes Parimala hana nutan.

patriarchal values imposed on women throughout the human history made the women to continue in the feeling of insecurity and this was intensified with the religious and social insecurities. Women are said to be more passive, receptive and tolerant these may also be the offshoots of the sense of insecurity. Compromise added with suppression, oppression and ignorance are the reasons for women’s long silence and insecurity. The objective conditions (financial dependency and patriarchal values) developed strong feminine intuitive power but woman being dependent could not fight for equal rights. Physiological basis of patience is more in women than in man, and women show more patience and self-restraint in arguments and fights with men. This

attitude of silent suffering of women is making men more bold and irrational in their actions against women. Development and scientific inventions and innovations resulted in the development of masculine logic being called the human logic. Women have not participated nor were allowed to part take in development therefore the women have not developed this logic and their logic is called the natural logic or illogic. Insecurity breeds insecurity, an insecure mother instills the sense of insecurity in her children, there spheres of thinking become constricted and limited, resulting in mental and emotional conflicts, affecting the society at large.

eDUcation emanciPateS Industrialization and modernization for the first time in the history of mankind have made women feel secureunconsciously, sub-consciously or consciously. Though the woman is invincible in her belief, resoluteness and absolutism in thought, speech and deed is still an illusion even in the present day. Government and many other agencies have and are making efforts to make the girl child/woman breathe freshness of freedom and independence. Education of women has helped them take up vocations on par with men, face challenges in domestic and professional fronts with perseverance and precision, and at times perform much better than men. Just as a flower fills the space with fragrance, an educated and determined


woman can influence an entire community. But statistics of crime against women show rise in spite of all the efforts to improve the living conditions of women. It can be surely said that the sincere efforts are yielding positive results in encouraging women to report domestic abuse to the police, fight for their equal rights and security but still incidents like eve-teasing, acidthrowing, gruesome rapes and murders, dowry deaths cloud the brightness of woman’s life. Do not be a silent sufferer of these incidents. Protest them with full vigor. Who has to put an end to the saga of woes of women? Obviously, the women themselves! The society also needs to be sensitized on gender bias. Self-confidence – Mark to success Limitations only live in our minds, but if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. The role of women in nipping this evil is most significant. Efforts should be made on a war-footing to develop self-confidence in women so that they have the inherent physical and mental strength to face the onslaught of adverse situations both by active and passive means. Women need to be self motivated, be sensitized about their rights and empower themselves to be changed and be agents of change of the world around. Women themselves have to rise to the occasion and supplement their will and energy to face the odd situations with utmost vigor through encouragement of the government, Law enforcing agencies, NGOs and other executive agencies. The Law enforcing agencies extend all cooperation in ensuring safety of women. There is growing recognition of the need for gender-sensitive policing, including the use of women officers in dealing with violence against women. According to studies reported in Pakistan (Wilson, 1999) and in India, women take up a career in the police service to ensure personal security and to help other women. They also show that local culture and norms greatly influence the deployment of women police officers in line duties. Many police forces in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and the


Guns and gentle women Place: India-Pakistan border, Dera Baba Nanak border outpost. Gurdaspur district, Punjab. Time: Afternoon Date: May 1, 2012. The Pakistani intruder was trying to cross over into India using the cover of wheat fields. He did see two woman constables watching his movements cautiously. “Women….What could they do possibly? I will pounce on them and overpower them,” the Pakistani intruder told himself. The women guards, of the 74th battalion of the BSF, were on their alert. One of them was updating her superiors about the advancing infiltrator and sought their directions, while the other aimed at him. The moment the intruder crossed into the Indian territory the female guards shouted: “Tham.” The reckless Pakistani plunged himself towards them thinking that the women will run away in fear. But, he was in for a surprise. The

Philippines are creating women’s desks, women cells, women stations, women bureaux and women units in order to open up opportunities for women to serve in the police as well as to deal with the increased numbers of domestic violence cases now being reported. I strongly feel that the confidence being instilled in women is not only helping them to voice out against the injustice meted out to them, but is also helping women police officers to achieve their law enforcement career goals and to play an active role in prevention of domestic violence and crime against women. For women’s lives to be free from discrimination, valued for their contribution, and treated with respect and dignity and appreciated for their patience, we need to set examples of outstanding success. I wish to contribute by being an example of excellence in

women guards pumped bullets in to his body and he dropped dead in moments. The two girls, Aarti (23) and Reena Kaur (24) have made history by becoming the first women BSF jawan to kill the intruder. Their courage, presence of mind and the dogged determination became subject of eulogies. For their feet, awards and cash rewards followed. Senior police officials congratulated them on their bravery. Aarti hails from village Mona Singh in Hoshiarpur district and is an NCC C certificate holder, while Reena is from Nathu Singhwala village in Baghapurana tehsil of Moga.

securing a safe, harmonious workplace.

SecUre women My whisper to every woman - A fearful insecure human being is incapable of experiencing and expressing true love. It may not be the right time for women to wreck out their vengeance on the mankind for their inferior social, economical, religious and legal status throughout the human history, but as a gender responsible for survival must breed happy, self dependent, secure, sensitive, empathetic and healthy human beings to feel the exhilaration of women’s victory and strength and dwell in a haven of security and reality—the ever cherished dream of mankind. (The author is J.PARIMALA HANA NUTAN, Supdt. of Police, Presently working as Principal of Police Trng. College, Warangal)


Women Police


A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t do -rhonda hansome


believe this quote aptly describes the women police. The women police are expected to do all that men police do and do what they cannot do. Even today, the number of women police is a mere 3 per cent. Though there is a gradual rise in their numbers, it still is highly disproportionate to their share in population. As a police officer working in faction-ridden and backward Anantapur, I feel I have a special responsibility. Despite backwardness, I found that the women of Anantapur are mentally tough, strong and welcome change. They do not fight for their rights here. In fact, they already enjoy their rights. Though there are not many women’s rights activists, the women of Anantapur are aware of their rights and know how to fight to achieve them. I have several memorable experiences. Once, I got a phone call from a 14-year-old girl, seeking my intervention to stop her forced marriage. She told me that she was being forced into marriage with someone who is 15 years older and was already married. She told me that she would e married off that night in a village temple. All that the terrified girl


the first and second generation women police officials have made a mark with their honest, courageous, outspoken, no-nonsense and knowledgeable outlook. they effortlessly juggled between their responsibilities as a police officer as well as a woman. the younger generation of police women feels inspired by their contribution, writes e Supraja.

could mutter was the name of her village ie. Venkatampalli Thanda. Accompanied by an SI, I rushed to the village only to find myself utterly unable to identify the home of the hapless girl. Strangely, there were no celebrations. Everything was hush-hush. The girl wasn’t available on phone. We then decided to wait in the outskirts for the sunset, hoping that there would be some lighting arrangements indicative of a wedding ceremony after darkness descended. Our guess was right and once we saw that the girl was being brought to the wedding stage, we pounced upon them and took the girl away. By the time she reached Anantapur, the girl was thoroughly exhausted and was overcome with emotion. She cried bitterly and looked very dazed. We reassured the traumatized girl and gave her something to eat. Slowly, she regained composure and recounted her story. I asked her how she got my phone number. She said she took my number when I visited their village school a few months ago to distribute examination study material. She recalled my number and called me up to save her from the clutches of an unwanted and premature marriage. We counseled her parents and then shifted the girl to a social welfare hostel. Today, she is doing well in her academics and has grown stronger in

flesh and will. The girl could summon up courage only because she know a woman police officer and felt she could understand her plight. Thus, women police officers could very well emerge as change-agents in the socity. At a time when the Indian culture is in a state of flux and there is confusion all around over the western culture and Indian traditions. Today, women vie with men in jobs and academics. They earn as much as a man earns. Yet, the family system is facing turbulent time what with the dawn of modernity. It is here that women police could play a key role in counseling the women-folk so that the women can evolve and emancipate themselves. The women police could support hapless girls and women and they are already doing their job admirably well. Women cops have a very reassuring presence while dealing with cases of gender discrimination, eveteasing, gender harassment etc. The first and second generation women police officials have made a mark with their honest, courageous, outspoken, no-nonsense, knowledgeable outlook. They effortlessly juggled between their responsibilities as a police officer as well as a woman. The younger generation of police women is inspired by the contribution of senior women police personnel. The saga continues…. (The author is Dy. SP of Guntakal Sub Div., Anantapur Dist.)



Rama Devi

normally, parents do not want their wards to join the police department. they would rather prefer their daughters take up soft jobs. but, no job is more effective when it comes to ensuring that justice is meted out to the underprivileged sections like the poor and the women, writes rama Devi


had occasions to interact with police officials as an MPDO. Despite being a government officer, in some corner of my mind I feared the police and was scared to enter the police station. Though I used to organize few programmes in coordination with them, like many citizens, I had a very negative opinion about the police. In general, the parents do not advice their wards to join the police department. They would rather prefer their daughters take up soft jobs. But, the police job is challenging yet powerful. It enforces the law and order and ensures that justice is meted out to the underprivileged sections like the poor and the women. I never thought I would become a police officer, but unexpectedly was selected by the APPSC to be posted as a deputy superintendent of police. It was then that I became aware of what the police department is all about and these close encounters have changed me completely. Gradually, I began realizing that as a woman police officer, I have a better opportunity to help women victims and attend to their issues in the right earnest. As a police officer, I am proud that I am able to instill confidence among the women, victims of atrocities and the poor. As a senior level officer, I am motivating the CIs and SIs to act


sympathetically towards women and the poor. I am visiting colleges, schools and social welfare hostels on a regular basis to inspire confidence among the girls. I am now motivating them to take up policing as a career. This is offering me an opportunity to create a positive impression in their minds towards the police.

During my training at Paderu in Visakhapatnam, I organized Girijana Mahila Saadhikaratha Sadassulu or tribal women empowerment conferences in the deep interiors of the Agency area. The aim of the programme was to create awareness among tribal women about legal protection, health, welfare and education. These programmes were


organized in association with the ITDA. As part of the programme, we used to distribute literature pertaining to women empowerment and welfare. Well, one might be tempted to ask as to what a police officer has to do with programmes that essentially fall under the jurisdiction of civil officers. But, to be truthful, before I became a police officer, I had no idea about the protective measures that positively discriminate women. Though I was a gazette officer, I had little knowledge of women’s health issues. After I took charge as the SDPO at Mahaboobabad in Warangal district, I got plenty of opportunities to respond to crimes against women. The presence of a woman officer gave confidence to victimized women, who were till then vary of approaching a police station and seeking police protection. They come forward to seek police help with confidence sans mediators. As a woman police officer, I had got a short film prepared on the legal redressal to women and on preventing various crimes. The short film, titled ‘Chaitanyam’, also helped create awareness about the preventive aspect too. The film, which is very easy to understand, is being shown in rural interiors to enable the illiterate women to understand their rights. My experience shows that women


India’s answer to hi-tech crimes


hat is Dr. Rukmini Krishnamurthy’s connection with Telgi stamp scam, Promod Mahajan murder case and Aditi Sharma murder case? How is she clinked to Goa’s Scarlett murder, Kingfisher airline scam and Malegaon blasts? The answer is simple. She helped crack those high-profile cases and many more. She led the forensic team that helped crack the 1993 blasts case. She won a UN fellowship and several national and international awards. Dr. Rukmmini Krishnamurthy has conquered the almost exclusive male preserve of forensic Science Laboratories by becoming the director of Forensic Science Laboratory in Maharashtra. Dr. Rukmini has established several new crime investigative techniques and is a member of forensic science advisory committee of the Union Home Ministry, panel of external expert review on analytical chemistry division in BARC, expert member for the national level procedural manual for explosives, narcotic drugs, petro products and toxicology. An author, a researcher and a top executive, Dr Rukmini Krishnamurthy has over 100 research papers to her credit. Her husband is a retired senior BARC scientist and her son Kamesh is a visiting researcher in Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Her daughter Vanitha is the financial advisor for global banks.

victims find it more reassuring to approach a woman police officer, who is more humane and more concerned. They feel emboldened to express themselves as a woman can understand the feelings of another woman better. I now strongly feel that more women should enter the police

department to create confidence among the poor and the women. This would go a long way in creating confidence among the women and help reduce crimes against women. In this endeavour of mine, I am getting able guidance and moral support from my superiors. I am also happy to note that during my visits to the colleges and hostels, I find more and more girls expressing their wish to join the uniformed wings. When I ask them about their job plans, many girls say they want to be female police officers. Today, I look at police differently. My perception has changed positively. The police are meant for the welfare of the society. They do not shy away from even making supreme sacrifices for the cause of the society. More the number of women in the police force, the better it is for the women. They are better empowered and the society would be peaceful. (The author is SDPO, Mahabubabad, Warangal Dist)



Anju Yadav

a gritty policewoman, that’s how people remember anju yadav. inspired by senior woman police officers like aruna bahuguna, tejdeep Kaur, charu Sinha and anuradha, she took to policing just as a fish takes to water.


nju, a native of Nandimandalam near Idupulapaya, Kadapa, joined police department in 1996. A sportswoman and an athlete of considerable standing, Anju Yadav chose policing over junior assistant job in the LIC and a bank official’s job in the SBI. “I was truly inspired by the life of Kiran Bedi, the first ever woman IPS in India. After reading her biography, I decided to become a police,” she says. Another compelling reason for joining the police department was the harassment and eve-teasing that she faced during her college days. “I used think I would be safer if I joined the police department,” she laughs. After her stint at the training, she was allotted to Chittoor district. In fact, she used to be the lone woman officer in the then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s convoy whenever he visited his home-turf. In 2003, while working at the Poothalapattu police station, she was drafted for duty for CM’s visit to Tirupathi. It was during this duty period that she had her closest encounter with death. Chief Minister’s convoy, of which she was part of, was blown by a Naxal claymore mine at Alipiri on Tirumala foothills. “On that fateful day- October 2nd the car in which I was travelling was ahead of the VVIP car. On the orders of my DSP, I was keeping a watch on CM’s car. At about 4.30 PM, I heard a deafening sound and saw the CM’s car engulfed in dusty smoke,” Anju Yadav recollects.


Though some colleagues tried to prevent her from going near the CM’s vehicle as it was unsafe, she darted ahead and with the help of some other policemen extricated a dazed and injured CM and the others out of the overturned car. “I was the first to reach the car. I can never forget the scene. The swank and sleek car was overturned and those inside the car fell one over another. I tried to break the window panes but, they were very tough as it was a bullet-proof car. It was only with the help of others that I could pull out the VIP,” she says.

Anju is proud of being a woman police officer. She says she is able to help the poor and the destitute. As a police officer, she has been attending several counsellings and public meetings in various schools and colleges, where she motivates the girls to take to policing job. Anju Yadav is also Chittoor district incharge of the prestigious pilot project of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Networking and Systems, a pan-Indian criminal database formed in the wake of 26/11 attacks. (The auhor is Inspector of Police in Tirupati)


FAIR media presents bravely the true facets of various things to create awareness among various sections of society including the bureaucracy and the administration, criticize public policies that could not help the society and inspire people by bringing to light the bravery and sacrifices of uniformed personnel. We published special editons UnsUng Heroes in memory of the Police personnel who laid their lives in the line of duty. CrUsader, a special edition is an initiative to fight against Corruption. Brave Hearts is yet another special edition brought out to bring to light the ‘daughters of the soil’ who sacrificing their lives for the society for ages. And one more special issue titled terrorism to create awareness among the people and make public the lapses on the part of officials and political bosses in fighting terror. These special issues of intellectual value are limited edition publications and a must read for those who live in and think about society. These copies are not made available for all, but specially delivered on request.

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This edition is an attempt to present the ‘other’ half of history in fact, the ‘best’ half of history. Women have shown time and again that...