How Delhi's policemen view rape: Tehelka investigation

While we may have excellent statutes to deal with crimes against women, do we also have the police machinery to implement the law in its letter and spirit? 


TEHELKA decided to investigate the conduct and approach of Station House Officers (SHOs) and their deputies who are in charge of police stations in the NCR. These cops are the first point of contact for any victim of sexual assault when they have to lodge a complaint. The objective was to find out if there was any latent bias among the police personnel towards rape victims. In a two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters posing as research scholars, visited 23 stations across the NCR and spoke to more than 30 policemen with experience of 20-30 years. The reporters did not make misogynistic comments or incite the policemen to say or do something they wouldn’t have otherwise said or done. The line of inquiry was to be completely neutral and non-partisan. And what we came back with was shocking.


Our two week long investigation reveals that the NCR, which houses some of the leading industries from around the world and where lakhs of women work alongside men, is policed by the cops with a 19th century mindset. Seventeen senior cops of over a dozen police stations across Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad were caught on spy camera blaming everything from fashionable or revealing clothes to having boyfriends to visiting pubs to consuming alcohol to working alongside men as the main reasons for instances of rape. ‘It’s always the woman who is at fault’ was in essence the argument offered by a majority of the cops. 


Many of them believe that genuine rape victims never approach the police and those who do are basically extortionists or have loose moral values. Others believe that the women from Northeast could never be victims of forced sex as they are invariably involved in the flesh trade. Even more shockingly, some of them are of the view that if a woman has consensual sex with one man, then she shouldn’t complain if his friends also join in. If a woman is doing late hours at the office then she had it coming… and the arguments keep coming.


IF THE police personnel are to be believed, everything from co-education to migration to cities to being independent and assertive and holding unconventional jobs are reasons for the rise in rape incidents across NCR. So mind-numbing are these admissions that one cannot help but wonder about the plight of the rape victims in mofussil towns and villages if the police in and around the capital is so deeply prejudiced. The TEHELKA expose warrants an urgent soul-searching at the highest levels of the police administration and demands immediate corrective steps in the police training and investigation...


http://www.tehelka.com/story_main52.asp?filename=Ne140412Coverstory.asp

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