INDIA ABROAD August 4, 2017 27 INDIA
By Abhaya Srivastava
ll-female police units
are shaking up the
in conservative north-
west India, hitting the
streets to combat sex
crimes and a pervasive culture of
silence around rape.
One such squad in Jaipur has
been patrolling bus stops, colleges and parks where women
are vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Women can face a barrage on
India’s streets, enduring everything from lewd jokes and
strangers following them— often
dismissed as innocent “Eve teasing” — to physical attacks and
“The message we want to send
out is that we have zero tolerance
towards crimes against women,”
said Kamal Shekhawat, who
heads the specialist Jaipur unit
established in late May.
India has a gruesome record
on sex crimes, with nearly
40,000 rapes reported every
year. But the real figure is
thought to be much higher, with
victims wary of how their complaints will be dealt with.
India’s police force is overwhelmingly male — women make
up just seven percent of officers
— and activists complain that victims are often judged by their
appearance, asked probing questions, or even blamed for provoking the crime.
The shame attached to rape in
India’s deeply patriarchal society,
and fear of reprisal, means many
sex crimes are not reported and
offenders go unpunished.
Shekhawat hopes the visible
presence of female officers on
the beat will encourage more
women in Jaipur to report their
abusers knowing they will find a
“Women police are more
empathetic and victims also feel
more confident and are able to
communicate openly before
them,” she said.
At a park in Jaipur, constable
Saroj Chodhuary dismounted
from her scooter and approached
a group of sari-clad women to
“You can just make a call or
even message on WhatsApp and
we will be right there,” she said,
clad in khaki uniform and white
helmet as she passed around her
“Your identity will not be
revealed, so you can feel free to
register your complaint. If some-
one makes cat calls or troubles
you in any way, do let us know.
Don’t take law in your own
The women appear impressed
by her authority — Chodhuary
and her colleagues are trained in
martial arts and spent months
learning the law — and relieved
to know help was just a phone
Radha Jhabua, a 24-year-old
mother, said she wanted to com-
plain about a neighbor stalking
her but her husband feared it
would bring the family a bad
name. “He told me to keep quiet
and wait for the man to change
his ways. I am glad we can now
just send a Whatsapp message to
these sisters and they will take
care of the rest,” she told AFP.
Seema Sahu, a 38-year-old
mother of two, said she usually
avoided going out at night with
“I am so glad now these police
women will be on the roads.
Their very presence gives us confidence,” she said.
India faced international
scrutiny over levels of violence
against women following the
fatal gang-rape of a medical student in New Delhi in December
Laws to punish sex offenders
were strengthened in the after-
math, but attacks are still wide-
spread. In the capital New Delhi
alone there were 2,199 rape cases
in 2015 — an average of six a day.
India’s police has been
ordered to recruit more female
officers so women make up a
third of the force.
But so far, their numbers
The Jaipur unit is just the second in Rajasthan state, with the
first established in Udaipur last
Police in neighboring Uttar
Pradesh have come under fire for
their controversial approach to
combat sex-related crimes in the
notoriously lawless state.
There officers, including
women, patrolling in so-called
“anti-Romeo squads” have been
accused of harassing unmarried
and interfaith couples in an effort
to enforce a moral code reflecting
Shekhawat said no such methods would be adopted under her
“We have seen a very good
impact and positive results wherever our teams are on patrol,”
“It is having a preventive
effect. It is restoring the faith of
the public in the police which is a
must for maintaining law and
Men are taking note, too.
“It’s a very good move. When
a man gets rounded up by these
women, others will automatically
feel the heat. They will have to
mend their ways,” said Jaipur
resident Ram Lal Gujar.
Jaipur’s Women Police Force Take Charge
The force is female — India’s women cops take a stand
Women constables from Jaipur’s first lady police patrol unit being flagged off from Police Commissionerate on May 1 in Jaipur.
By a Staff Writer
rundhati Roy’s celebrat-
ed return to fiction after
a 20-year hiatus could
earn her a second Man Booker
Prize, after it was longlisted for
the esteemed literary award.
Roy’s “Ministry of Utmost
Happiness” is among the 13 on
the list announced July 26.
If Roy wins the £50,000
Man Booker Prize — the U.S.
equivalent of a little less than
$75,000 — she will be the
fourth double-winner of the
award. Her debut novel “The
God of Small Things,” won the
coveted award in 1997. Only
three other writers —
Australian Peter Carey, British
author Hilary Mantel and
South African-born John
Maxwell “J. M.” Coetze — have
won the prize twice.
Also on the longlist are novels by two Pakistani-British
authors - “Home Fire” by
Kamila Shamsie and “Exit
West” by Mohsin Hamid.
The list was chosen from
144 submissions published in
the UK between Oct. 1, 2016
and Sept. 30, 2017. The Man
Booker Prize for Fiction, first
awarded in 1969, is open to
writers of any nationality,
writing in English and published in the UK.
The shortlist of six books
will be announced Sept. 13.
The shortlisted authors each
receive £ 2,500 — the U.S.
equivalent of about $3,300 -
and a specially bound edition
of their book.
The winner will be revealed
on Oct. 17 in London’s
Guildhall at a black-tie dinner,
the Man Booker website said.
Roy is Man Booker Contender Again
‘Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ on longlist for prize
our ability to enhance access and
opportunity for the last person
and the last girl-child from an
under-privileged family, if I may
put it so, in the last house in the
last village. This must include a
quick and affordable justice
Kovind said people needed “to
sculpt a robust, high growth
economy, an educated, ethical
and shared community, and an
egalitarian society, as envisioned
by Mahatma Gandhi and Deen
“These are integral to our
sense of humanism. This is the
India of our dreams, an India that
will provide equality of opportunities. This will be the India of
the 21st century,” he said, in an
apparent reference to
Upadhyay’s principle of integral
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