Goddess therapy for cops

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Chandigarh
  • Published 1.07.08
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Chandigarh, July 1: Goddesses, save women from Haryana police.

The force, struggling to wipe rape blots, has turned to goddesses to keep the men in uniform from preying on women.

Crash courses in religious studies, with an emphasis on goddesses, have been lined up to help the personnel “understand” women better.

“The intention is to ensure a better understanding of a woman’s psyche and ensure her problems are dealt with in a humane manner. The emphasis will be on goddesses we worship in our homes,” a senior officer connected with the training said.

The rush to invoke goddesses follows the battering the force’s image took last month when two policemen allegedly raped women who had approached them for help.

In the first case, Sarita, a 27-year-old mother of two, drank poison and died at the police headquarters in Panchkula. She was fed up with the lack of action against two personnel who had allegedly raped her repeatedly in Rohtak, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s home district.

In the second incident last week, Pooja, a 22-year-old under court-ordered protection after a runaway wedding, accused a Karnal officer of raping her in a police station where she had been called to “discuss” her problems.

State police chief Ranjiv Dalal had dubbed both incidents as a “shameful blot on the face of the force”.

With the force’s reputation hitting a new low, personal histories and service records of personnel are being “carefully examined” before they are cleared for postings. District police chiefs have been told to screen records and to deal promptly with personnel harassing women.

The gender-sensitisation drive has reached the trainees, too. At the Haryana Police Academy in Madhuban, cadets are being taught “the nuances of culture and gender”, apart from their customary courses.

“There is a need to arrest prejudices that entrants carry with them. They include biases of caste, language, gender and region, which have to be eliminated for the force to perform in a non-partisan manner and to restore people’s trust,” an officer said. The academy has psychologists, too.

The stress is now on “character study” before service, the officer said, adding that those who “fall short of the standards set by the psychologists” will not get key postings.