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Thursday , December 20 , 2012
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Lessons in victim care from top cop

Being insensitive to violence against women is the biggest bane for effective policing, IG (organised crime), CID, Sampat Meena said in Ranchi on Wednesday.

Meena, who was speaking on the concluding day of a two-day workshop on eve torment, child abuse and human trafficking, emphasised that a law-abiding policeman under no circumstances could deny help to a woman in trouble.

“It is a common practice at police stations to ask victims of domestic violence to settle family matters within family. This is being insensitive towards a genuine problem. A woman turns up before police only when the situation is beyond control at home. Sending them back to the hell they want to escape is wrong. Victims of domestic violence deserve full co-operation of the law. Policemen in the habit of demoralising women complainants should change their attitude for a better society,” she said.

Shifting focus from domestic violence to rape — the Delhi gang perpetration fresh in memory — the IG reprimanded her juniors for harassing victims with uncomfortable questions.

“Instead of giving a victim patient hearing, policemen bombard them with uneasy and often irrelevant queries. This is why most rapes go unreported. Victims are hesitant to relive their trauma through such uncomfortable questions. The first thing police should do in a rape case is send the victim for a medical examination, which alone can nail the culprits,” said the no-nonsense officer, who as Ranchi’s police chief had once suspended a junior officer for harassing a rape victim.

To drive home her point, Meena played the video footage of the mass molestation in Assam on July 9, when a 17-year-old girl was attacked by 15 youths outside a pub in Guwahati, at the session. She asked her audience — 50-odd male and female officers — to suggest the quantum of punishment for a crime of such gruesome proportions.

A lady officer, unable to control her emotions, blurted out that molesters should be thrashed in public. A section of male officers thought tonsure would be a better penalty, while many others remained tight-lipped on punishment saying that would mean inviting trouble from human rights activists.

Deploring timidity, Meena exhorted every man and woman in uniform to fight for a victim just the way they would do for their mothers, sisters and daughters.

The workshop was held at State Institute of Rural Development in Hehal. It was followed by a lecture on the practice of witch-hunting. OSD to governor Prakash Oraon addressed the gathering.

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