The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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She-trouble sighted for road Romeos
- Fresher and karateka policewomen’s team out to teach teasers a tough lesson

Statutory warning for road Romeos: brace against ‘shock and awe’ the next time you pass a lewd remark or make an obscene gesture. The shock would come from the discovery that slender young Suparna Pramanik, a geology graduate, is a lady constable doubling as a decoy. And the awe would be inspired by the martial moves of Annapurna Sarkar, who covers Suparna’s back and traps teasers.

The 25-year-old sub-inspector of Hare Street police station rounded up five road Romeos (including a 45-year-old doctor) during a recent drive on tease turf in central Calcutta. Annapurna, former Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel, is adept at karate and cross-questioning. “I know all the tricks of these scoundrels, making it tough for them to give me the slip,” she says.

D.P. Bhattacharya, officer-in-charge of Hare Street police station, says: “She (Annapurna) joined this thana two months ago from RAF. She has already made a mark by leading a daring drive against road Romeos. She is fully capable of teaching the eve-teasers a lesson.” According to Bhattacharya, the force was asked to set up a special team to net teasers, following a string of incidents on the city streets. “We selected Annapurna to lead the team. And it was up to her to pick the rest.” Annapurna’s first choice was Suparna. “She joined the force just six months ago and still looks like a college-going girl. Sometimes, I use her as a decoy. But I always keep a close watch on her. If anyone bothers her, I collar him at once,” announces Annapurna. “But if the area is particularly bad, then I take charge from the outset.”

The tease trap is laid on stretches where women are harassed almost every evening. Annapurna and her team members often post themselves at bus stops. “We also keep watch at places like the K.C. Das crossing at Dharamtala and the Great Eastern Hotel stretch, mingling with the women on their way back home from work,” says Annapurna.

The road Romeos opening ‘pass’ often comes in the form of a casual brush-past, followed by a wait-and-watch from a distance. “Sometimes, they are more aggressive and blow smoke into the face of one of the girls or start whistling or singing a suggestive Bollywood number. The more sophisticated ones watch for a while before striking up a conversation,” adds Annapurna, who either hands over the offender to waiting plainclothesmen or hands them a lesson in martial arts.

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