Women cops made to sit separate
Female police personnel made to sit in a separate row at function even as CM talks of gender equity and women empowerment
The city hosted, what the government de scribed, as a “historical“ event as over 18,217 police personnel were inducted at a special pro gramme held at the Riverfront. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who presided over the the func tion, emphasised that Gujarat was a State that believed in women empowerment. He also emphasised that the State had 33 per cent reservation for women in its police force.Women are an integral part of the force, ministers after ministers have stressed in Gujarat. However what was striking was the fact that women police personnel were asked to sit separately at the function. When the event was being planned, this was Riverfront which highlighted the seating arrangements was albeit done in a scientific manner where police personnel were asked to sit according to their districts and regions.

However, when women personnel reached the venue to attend the `historic“ induction ceremony, there were in for a surprise. And it was not a pleasant surprise. Several women were shocked because they were asked to sit separately in a group. For example, women cops inducted in Surat or Ahmedabad could not sit with their male counterparts from Surat or Ahmedabad. All women had to sit together.

`Segregation is sexist’



`Segregation is sexist’

Ironically, this induction ceremony was being held under the leadership of the first-ever incharge woman police chief of Gujarat. Geetha Johri, Gujarat’s first woman IPS officer, is right now the in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat.She heads around 70,000 police personnel in the State. Policewomen, who looked visibly happy to be part of the force, were unhappy at this deliberate segregation at the venue. “I applied and got chosen to be an equal. Not to be treated as a woman,“ said one.

Another policewoman told Mirror, “This is sexist. Whatever the motive maybe, this seating arrangement does not align with the concept of equality and empowerment that the Chief Minister was talking about just now.“

Where’s equality?

There were over 4,000 policewomen inducted into Gujarat police on Thursday. Of the total recruits inducted, the number of women accounts for 22.22%.

The Gujarat government has pledged to have 33 per cent women in its force and many lauded 22.32% as a very healthy beginning.

However, segregation at the spot did not go well with women in the city. Jan Sangharsh Manch activist Nirjhari Sinha said, “The force is considered one. Men and women have to work together to keep the city safe.When both genders have to work shoulder-to-shoulder, and even the CM is talking about gender equality in the force, this division should not exist. It is one uniform and all should have been seated together in this spirit.“

Reshma Patel of PAAS said, “On one hand, the government talks of gender equality, and on the other, they segregate female personnel. Are they saying women are not capable enough? If this is how they treat future police personnel, there’s no hope for commoners.“

Such incidents are a sad reminder of how women are still denied their rightful place, said Congress MLA Tejashree Patel, adding, “Women are still not allowed to work beside men in many fields, including the police department.“

Lawyer and women’s rights activist Meena Jagtap said, “Gender bias is too ingrained in our society and how much ever we talk of gender equality, it is tough to implement it. What has happened today is not justified.“

Minister for Health Shankar Chaudhary, who was present at the programme, refused to comment on the m a t t e r. M o S f o r H o m e Pradeepsinh Jadeja said, “We had divided the men and women according to a distribution plan which made it easy to hand out the appointment orders.“ Top cop A K Singh said, “The women were sitting according to their units, but in one row. They seemed more in number because we clubbed units.“

No discrimination involved: Incharge DGP

Geetha Johri, has several firsts to her name. She is the first woman IPS officer from Gujarat, and she is also the first woman to become the Gujarat police chief. She stepped into what was traditionally seen as a man’s job and shook quite a few prejudices and perceptions when she became an officer in 1982. She carried out night raids with her men and led the lathicharge when dealing with rioters. In her career spanning almost 35 years, Johri shot into limelight for arresting Latif aide Sharif Khan. She also filed the first investigation report in SC on fake encounter of SohrabuddinSheikh. So, female recruits being segregated under her watch raised eyebrows.

Incharge Director General of Police Geetha Johri also confirmed that female recruits were made to sit separately to “showcase the sheer number of women inducted into the force“. The DGP said, “There is 33 per cent reservation in the police department. We made the women sit separately to set them up as an example.There was no discrimination involved.

-Hiren Upadhyay