The Mahila Thana in Ranchi is a reflection of efficiency on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
The anti-teasing cell at the all-women police station in Ranchi, set up by the CID in December 2012, has caught on with college-goers and teenagers, a stark change from the past when girls had little choice but to endure catcalls, stalking, gropes and online harassment.
Helen Soy, the in-charge of the all-women’s police station near Shaheed Chowk, said they were receiving three or four complaints every day.
“We are really surprised. Girls are calling us up without fear, requesting us to teach a lesson to eve-teasers. Till Wednesday, we have received 270 complaints,” Soy said, adding the 24-hour helplines 2210533 and 9431700003 were known to many.
When the police call or haul up the eve-teasers, many boys admit their mistakes, she said.
College students call up to report instances of lewd comments, being stalked on their way to campus, being stared at or seized up as they wait for public transport, random strangers sending SMSes or calling up at odd hours and the like.
When a victim registers her complaint, the mahila police takes down the details such as her name, contact number, father’s name, location of teasing, date and time.
In case the victim has the eve-teaser’s number, the police call up the man from the landline up to three times to warn him against harassing the girl. If the man is a stalker, plainclothes police patrol the location indicated by the victim and catch him on the spot.
“For most, this preliminary action is enough to stop them. If they still cause trouble, we call them to the thana and warn them or inform their parents,” Soy said.
Anurag Gupta, CID inspector-general (organised crime) said the eve-teasing cell floated by him last December aimed at empowering women and girls who were silent victim to atrocities.
“There was no mechanism they could approach, vent their fears and seek redress. They suffered in silence or refused to get out of home or begged parents to send them away somewhere. Now, what pleases us most is that girls show their courage in demanding their right to safety,” Gupta pointed out.
He added that the women’s police stations were present across all districts.
“We have made a start. We are trying to build a safe society for women in Jharkhand,” the CID top cop said.
College girls say the anti-eve teasing cell has made a world of difference.
A third-year student of Ranchi Women’s College said that in the first week of February she had received a spate of lewd calls and messages on a single day from someone.
“He even threatened me with dire consequences. I immediately approached the all women’s police station. Within 24 hours the offender was warned. I felt relaxed,” she said.
Her classmate said that their college women’s cell was not functioning. “This makes the CID initiative a godsend for us,” she added.
Have you received help from the all-women police station?