Apparent staff crunch has prompted a man to take up the mantle of Patna woman police station house officer (SHO) in violation of the home department directive.
The rule says that under no condition, a male officer be posted as an SHO of a woman police station but senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amrit Raj probably had a different take on the matter.
An order regarding the posting was issued by the SSP’s office and the message was flashed through wireless on August 27. Inspector Krishna Prasad was asked to take up the new assignment with immediate effect.
Prasad, who earlier served as the SHO of several police stations, including Patliputra and Malsalami, had no option but to comply with Raj’s order and joined the police station, which has some 20 policewomen, next day.
The SSP realised the faux pas only when he visited the police station in Patna City on Saturday to review pending cases there.
Raj said: “The matter has been brought to my notice. If there is any discrepancy in the posting, it will be rectified,” he said, while pleading that the district police faced a shortage of inspector-rank woman officers.
Earlier, sub-inspector Ranjeeta Kumari was posted as the SHO of the woman police station, which operates on the premises of Sultanganj police station in Patna City.
According to prescribed rules of the state home department, an inspector-rank officer is to be posted as the SHO of a police station in Patna and the post of the SHO of a woman police station is also earmarked for a woman officer.
Sources said that only 12 cases were lodged with the woman police station in Patna since its creation on June 3 this year. Two important cases — one related to the gangrape of a Class XII girl student and another related to an attempt to rape of a girl working with a private insurance company — have been taken up for investigation by the woman police station.
In the last case in August, the girl alleged that a police officer met her in a hotel room and molested her. The police officer was later recalled to the district police lines.
The woman police station had been inaugurated in the wake of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s announcement to open a separate police station for women in each district.
The chief minister was of the view that the victims would not have to face any problem in visiting a woman police station and confiding in women police personnel.
Sources in the state police headquarters said that woman police stations were functioning in 34 of 38 districts in the state.
“Efforts are on to open woman police stations in rest of the districts as soon as possible,” said Ravinder Kumar, additional director-general of police. The first woman police station was made operational in Nalanda, the chief minister’s home district.
According to data released by the National Crime Record Bureau, about 56 per cent women in the age group of 15 to 49 years in the state are subjected to physical and sexual violence. Bihar ranked second in the country after Uttar Pradesh in cases of kidnapping, dowry death and dowry-related crime against women in 2011.
The rise in crime against women in the state has already raised eyebrows at the national-level. Against this backdrop, separate police stations for women in distress were not only a good initiative but also something that was praised by women’s rights groups also.
A senior police officer said steps would be taken to appoint a woman in-charge of the woman police station in Patna as soon as possible.