Can the police ban sale of liquor near academic cradles? Is there a way to stop auto-rickshaws from playing raunchy songs? Why are juveniles treated leniently even for an appalling crime like rape?
Senior police officers faced the rapid fire from solicitous students of Ranchi Women’s College on Wednesday in a unique interaction organised by voluntary outfit Randhir Verma Memorial Foundation.
The two-hour session, which began at Bhanumati Prasad Memorial Hall from 11.30am, saw gutsy girls occasionally bowl the googly and the yorker that had the likes of IG (Ranchi zone) M.S. Bhatia, DIG (South Chotanagpur Range) Sheetal Oroan, SSP Saket Kumar Singh and city SP Manoj Ratan stumped.
“The law says that liquor cannot be sold within a 100-metre radius of any educational institution. How come there are three shops in close proximity of our college? Tipplers throng the area and often create trouble for us. Will the police help?” charged Sunita Kumari, an English student of the college.
Pitched in Part II history pupil Annu Paswan: “Travelling in autos makes us feel uneasy sometimes because drivers play vulgar songs. Is there any rule to stop them from doing so, especially when women passengers are on board?”
The brutal gang rapes of a paramedical student in Delhi last December and a photojournalist in Mumbai last month fresh in memory, Part I history student Kazmi Fatma raised the controversial issue of trial and quantum of punishment for juvenile delinquents.
“A boy develops sexual curiosity soon after puberty, which is attained by the age of 14. By 16, he understands what is wrong and what is right. So, the tag of juvenile for a boy involved in crimes like rape is redundant. Why is he sent to a remand home and not put to trial like any adult perpetrator of such a monstrous crime?” said Fatma.
The men and woman in uniform gave the girls a patient hearing and unanimously promised to address many of their grievances.
On liquor sale near Ranchi Women’s College, SSP Saket Singh said: “Police do not issue licence to such shops. But, what we can do is we can ensure that no one drinks in the open, particularly near a college for girls. Rogues will be dealt with strictly.”
City SP Ratan, on his part, assured the students that auto-rickshaws playing raunchy numbers would be brought under lens. “We will see to it that women passengers are not inconvenienced,” he said.
Punishment for juvenile rapists, however, remained a contentious subject as always.
“We believe a boy (under 18) is not matured mentally. So, a lenient view is taken. But, if the person is a repeat offender, then there is no mercy,” IG Bhatia said, merely skimming over the issue.
Among other students who aired their grouses at the police-student meet was Puja Kumari of the college’s Hindi (PG) department. Puja asked if police could “restrain” couples from “indecent behaviour” in public places such as park.
The senior officers did not satisfy her with an answer and switched to other problems like tease torment and molestation. They jotted down the need to step up vigil in vulnerable pockets, where women are often harassed by eve-teasers.
IG Bhatia had a parting advice for the college girls. “Treat police as your friend. We are always with you. Raise your voice against injustice and fight atrocities,” he concluded the interaction.