June 28, 2007
From the Deccan Herald, 25 June 2007
A camp to buff ‘people-friendly’ image of police
DH News Service, Bangalore:
“People think we are insensitive. That’s not true. Our’s is a very difficult job, but we try to help people in trouble,” noted a participant from the ‘khaki’ side.
A unique three-day workshop of writers and police personnel was held in the Armed Police Training School, Yelahanka, with the aim of “understanding each other” and sensitising the police on gender issues.
An initiative of the State police, Unicef and Saarathi (a Bangalore-based media organisation), the workshop concluded on Saturday.
“I always thought that the police were insensitive and a bunch of crooks. I was scared of talking to a cop or going to a police station to register a complaint. But this workshop has opened my eyes. I understand them and their limitations now,” said Dr Shashikala Shivashankar, professor at Bhagwan Buddha College.
“People think we are insensitive. That’s not true. Our’s is a very difficult job, but we try to help people in trouble,” noted a participant from the ‘khaki’ side.
Said a lady assistant SI, “Often we are in a dilemma. Sometime back, a deaf-mute girl was raped. She told us something about the rapist in the sign language and it took us nearly two days to figure out the culprit.
When we traced him, her parents, worried at her getting pregnant, wanted her to marry her violator, but we intervened to stop the alliance”.
“On the other hand, we were also worried for the accused, because people had badly beaten him up before we could arrest him. We had to make sure that he was medically okay,” she added.
A brainwave of Additional DGP D V Guruprasad, the workshop was part of the Unicef-sponsored Gender Sensitisation and People-friendly Police Project that took off in 2001 in the State.
“We’ve been conducting gender sensitisation programmes for the past six years and have trained around 7,000 personnel in issues related to women and children,” Mr Guruprasad said.
“I hope the writers — eight participated — would now write about the positive work we do, which otherwise wouldn’t get any media attention. Also, the camp has come as a bonus; it helped the budding writers in khaki,” he quipped.
June 27, 2007
From The Hindu, 25 June 2007:
Bringing out the writers in police
|10 police personnel participate in three-day workshop|
Noted writers interact with police officials
Effort to be made to get work published
Bangalore: “… I visited Dileep at the rehabilitation centre and was happy to see he was doing well. He had kicked the habit and was now helping others his age do the same…”
This was from one of the stories written by a woman assistant sub-inspector of police that was read out at the end of a three-day workshop at the Armed Police Training School here on Saturday. The unique “Writers’ workshop” for police personnel was organised under the Gender Sensitisation and People-friendly Police (GSPP) Project, which is a partnership between the Karnataka State Police and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
As many as 10 police personnel, including police constables, head constables and assistant sub-inspectors, took part in the workshop. Such a workshop was being held for the first time in the country, said Anasuya Sengupta, State Coordinator, GSPP Project.
The workshop was conducted in collaboration with Saarathi, a Bangalore-based media organisation. Noted writers interacted with police officials from across the State. “We thought it would be unique to bring together established writers and police personnel. Established writers also have a very lay view of the police system. The interaction helped police personnel learn the technicalities of writing so that they could try to write about the system from within it,” said Ms. Sengupta.
The workshop was not one of those that ended with just an interaction. “We have asked all the participants to go back and revise their work. We are looking forward to creating a pool of writing from the workshop. We hope to get their work published in the print media. We are also exploring the possibility of adapting their work to suit other media, such as plays for the radio or the theatre,” she added.
Yamuna Murthy, former Director of All India Radio (AIR) and theatre person, said that participating in the workshop had helped her realise the constraints and pressure under which the police work.
“There is a lot of prejudice among the public. Such workshops help dispel the wrong preconceived notions and show the police in a more humane light,” she said.
Shobha N. Bhosale, an assistant sub-inspector of police, Jamkhandi Town Police Station, Bagalkote, said that the workshop had helped empower police personnel with writing skills.
“We can now write, which will serve as an outlet for our thoughts. It will also help the public realise the kind of pressure we work under and will bring us closer,” she said.
Ms. Sengupta said that the GSPP Project began in 2001, and training for police personnel at all levels began in 2003.
“During the course of the project, we realised that police personnel are very creative. Such workshops will help them channel that creativity and share their experiences in a skilful manner, while maintaining confidentiality,” she added.
May 2, 2007
From The Hindu, 2 May 2007
Gender sensitisation becomes a part of police training
# Gender Sensitisation and People-friendly Police project was launched in 2001
# It teaches policemen to deal with cases relating to violence against women and children
BANGALORE: Flushed with the success of the Gender Sensitisation and People-friendly Police (GSPP) project launched in partnership with UNICEF, the Karnataka State Police is now making plans to include it in the curriculum for new recruits who will be trained in the State’s six police training schools.
Additional Director-General of Police (Recruitment and Training) D.V. Guruprasad, who is the nodal officer for the project, said that up to December 2006, over 2,800 police personnel had been trained in workshops, including 327 probationary sub-inspectors, and 754 probationary constables. The State has approximately 75,000 police personnel and 809 police stations. All police stations in Bangalore city now have at least one trained person to handle and deal with cases relating to violence against women and children, Mr. Guruprasad told The Hindu .
Begun modestly in 2001, the GSPP project developed a training module focussing on violence against women and children with the help of over 500 personnel, from the Director-General and Inspector-General to police constables in remote police stations. It was supported by resource persons and women’s and children’s organisations across the State. In 2003, the in-service training process began and, in 2005, the project was expanded to cover police training schools and academies.
UNICEF to withdraw
Soon UNICEF will remove itself from the project, and the Police Department is preparing to make the training programme a permanent feature.
“In the next five years, we would have achieved 100 per cent sensitisation,” Mr. Guruprasad said.
With Raichur district having the highest incidence of trafficking in women and children, the three police subdivisions of Raichur, Sindhanur and Lingasugur are going to be special focus areas.
A long haul
But it is a long haul, and Donna Fernandes of the women’s group Vimochana, who conducts some of the workshops and monitors the project, said, “It is disturbing to see that many of the police personnel do not regard domestic violence as a crime. Though many of them say they benefited from the workshops, there is still a tendency to avoid registering a complaint or to register all complaints as dowry-related ones.”
Jija Hari Singh, the State’s first woman Director-General of Police, Fire Forces, said gender-sensitisation had been addressed at various times in the past 15 years. “I have given talks and attended workshops, but I find there is not much impact. But this project (GSPP) could work, over time.”
Explaining how the module was created, Mr Guruprasad said a study was carried out in ten police stations in Bangalore over 18 months. The key findings were: very few cases related to women and children were actually registered; `counselling’ was often seen as a substitute for registration; the prevalent attitude of most officers was to minimise the incidence of violence and to deny the right of the complainant to seek justice; while many police personnel were more sympathetic towards children’s issues, their responses to women were traditional and patriarchal; violence against women and children was not seen as part of the `mainstream’ activities of the local police station, but were often referred to the women’s police station; the limited powers of the women police stations as well as the abdication of responsibility by the system overall led to further injustice to complainants.
April 25, 2007
On 13th April 2007, Karnataka State Police launched the first ever State level workplace policy on HIV/AIDS in the country. The Director General and Inspector General of Police, KSP, Mr. KR Srinivasan, called it a ‘path breaking effort’ and appreciated the spirit of collaboration between the police, other government agencies and technical partners, that led to the drafting of the policy.
The full text of the policy is available here: Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS
The policy ensures that no person with HIV or AIDS shall be unfairly discriminated against within the police system, including in terms of recruitment, appointments, and workplace facilities. It encourages all employees who are at risk of HIV infection to undergo voluntary counselling and testing for HIV. The Additional Director General of Police (Recruitment and Training) can be contacted for further information on this policy.
April 24, 2007
This is a personal reflection by UK Jayadev, who accompanied the project team to Bellary for a GSPP workshop between March 4-6, 2007.
When I was asked by the Project Coordinator Ms. Anasuya Sengupta to attend a workshop of the Gender Sensitization and People Friendly Police Project, a joint venture of the Karnataka State Police and UNICEF, I jumped at the opportunity, as apart from being curious about the work ethics of the police force from within, I wanted to experience at first hand how police personnel take to a workshop on a subject that is gaining more and more importance and relevance these days.
Intellectually, I was aware of the impact the word “Police” has on the psyche of any common person in our State of Karnataka – a mixture of awe, fear and unfounded guilt, from which I too was not free; but over the years I have developed, per se, a healthy respect for the Force.
My confrontations with the Police have been few and mercifully far between. When I was a school going lad in 1950s, I was once cycling down MG Road in Bangalore and in those days there was a traffic circle just opposite the Queen Victoria statue and while negotiating the turn I bumped into a pedestrian who had wandered on to the island. He fell down and I was truly penitent. The law caught up with me and I was frightened to see the man in Khaki looking at me with disapproving eyes and I blurted out in English: “Officer, are you going to hold an inquest now?” (I was proud of my English vocabulary, i.e. until then). He put his head back and guffawed loudly and said “You mean an inquiry? Inquest is when someone is dead”….I stood corrected by the Force and I marveled at his command over the language. The second time was when I was walking near City Market and some how or other the Police charged me with Jay walking ( I wasn’t, but he had to take some ‘criminals’ to court to fulfill his obligation of arresting a certain number of us!) and took me along with a few others to the Magistrate’s court. We walked all the way and the Magistrate without looking at any one of us fined us a princely sum of Eight Annas (half a rupee and a princely sum then). These were the only incidents which are worth recalling.
So one can imagine the total ignorance I have had all these years, with respect to Police Personnel and thus I was curious to see what changes have taken place in the realm of Policedom.
My travel to Bellary in the night train along with all the three resource personnel, viz. Anasuya Sengupta, BJ Ajith Kumar and Ms.Rovina Bastian was an introduction leading to the actual workshop.
On Sunday March 4, 2007 we assembled at the Office of the Superintendent of Police for Bellary where all the participants, some 65 police constables, head constables and assistant sub-inspectors (men and women) were present.
After the customary registration, a brief introduction to the project and the workshop was made by Project team members, after which the participants introduced themselves. This was to facilitate future sessions and to reduce as much as possible, the concept of hierarchy and stiff formalities prevalent in the Police Force.
The formal inauguration then took place with the SP Mr. Amrit Paul IPS lighting the lamp with other police personnel. Mr.Paul in his inaugural speech was very cogent and spoke off the cuff as it were and instilled into the minds of constables how they CAN effect a change in the society. He brought in some very interesting homilies and told a story involving a man trying to throw back fish washed up upon the beach; one should try to save at least one fish if one cannot save a thousand… He touched upon the crimes committed on women and children and how the police force can arrest such cruel happenings if only they show the will and tenacity to stem the rot that is widespread and rampant in the society. This was well appreciated by the audience. He beseeched the police constables to ruminate about such crimes and redefine their roles for reducing the crimes against women and children. This seems to have gone down well with the participants and set the mood for the ensuing three days of deliberations…
March 21, 2007
[Note from the GSPP team: We congratulate the SP of Chitradurga, Mr. K.L. Sudheer on this initiative! A similar initiative has also begun in Bellary district, under the SP Mr. Amrit Paul.]
From The Hindu, March 16, 2007
Help is at hand for victims of domestic violence
Mobile counselling centres to tour villages in Chitradurga
Chitradurga: In an attempt to address the issue of domestic violence where usually women are the victims, the Department of Police has come out with the novel idea of introducing mobile counselling centres in the district.
Superintendent of Police K.L. Sudheer told The Hindu that several cases of dowry harassment and harassment by inebriated husbands go unnoticed in rural areas. Owing to social pressures, women suffered the trauma but rarely came forward to register their grievances. Many, unable to bear the ordeal, even resorted to suicide, he said.
The Police Department, with the help of other departments such as Social Welfare and some non-governmental organisations, had decided to set up the mobile centres.
Mr. Sudheer said in the initial stage the department would arrange a van in which a woman police official, an advocate, two female nurses, a representative from an NGO and one PSI or ASI would tour villages. The villages to be covered would be intimated of the visit a day in advance. A meeting would be held in the village, where women could register their complaints. Counselling would either be given on the spot, or the victims would be directed to NGOs .
The staff would also hold awareness programmes on legal rights and sanitation.
If a woman does not wish to register her complaint personally at the centre, she could call up the staff concerned and state her problem, Mr. Sudheer said. The van would cover three or four villages a week. Mr. Sudheer said the mobile centres were expected to start functioning in a week. He said this was a small but sincere effort to reduce harassment.
March 12, 2007
From The Hindu, 5 March 2007
Police urged to protect rights of women
|Workshop on gender sensitisation held|
BELLARY: A three-day workshop for police personnel on gender sensitisation, with a focus on prevention of violence against women and children, began at the District Police Office here on Sunday.
Superintendent of Police Arit Paul, who inaugurated the workshop, said that the police were the visible face of the Government, and appealed to them, therefore, to make efforts to ensure that women were not discriminated against and the rights of children were protected.
The workshop was organised as part of the Karnataka State Police-UNICEF Gender Sensitisation and Peoples’ Friendly Police project, which is the first of its kind in the country.
Mr. Paul said there was need to prevent the exploitation of women, many of who were leading lives of “slavery” even after working hard and supplementing the family’s income, and child labour.
He said that while there were enough laws to tackle these menaces, what was lacking was the willpower to implement them.
“There is need for a change in the attitudes of people, and this change should begin at home,” he said.
He urged police personnel to take maximum advantage of the workshop to gain knowledge on laws against exploitation of women and children.
He hoped the workshop would help the participants change their attitudes so that they would become more people-friendly.
Project coordinator Anusuya Sengupta said the project was being implemented in eight districts of north Karnataka and also in Bangalore, and focused on preventing trafficking of women and children and violence against them.
February 23, 2007
From the BBC, 31 January 2007
Liberia gets all-female peacekeeping force
by Will Ross
BBC News, Liberia
The troops’ presence could help reduce women’s sexual exploitation
A unit of United Nations peacekeepers with a difference has arrived for work in Liberia – they are all women.
More than 100 female peacekeepers from India are there to work as an armed police unit to help stabilise Liberia which, after years of war, is trying to rebuild its own police force from scratch.
Stepping off the chartered plane in immaculate blue uniforms and berets, the 103 women were immediately on parade and probably bewildered by the media frenzy.
It is just a coincidence that the first all-female peacekeeping force is in Liberia, the first African country to elect a female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Crime is high especially in Monrovia and the war has left a degree of violence simmering just below the surface.
But having served in turbulent areas, including parts of northern India, the commander Seema Dhundiya says they are well prepared.
“These girls are experienced and have been trained. They have worked in areas of India where there was insurgency. They will do a good job and the Liberian ladies will get motivated and inspired to come forward and join the regular police.”
The UN mission in Liberia, which will cost around $750m this year, is helping rebuild the country’s police force from scratch.
During the 14-year war, the police were involved in the fighting and were steeped in corruption. Having acquired a terrible reputation it is now hard to persuade women to consider the police as a career.
The aim is for 20% of the force to be women. But reaching 6% is currently a struggle, partly because of the police’s image but also because of the low educational standards of many women.
The UN is now running a special educational programme for women wanting to join the force.
February 22, 2007
From the Times of India, 18 February 2007
4,500 children go missing in Bangalore
BANGALORE: Over 4,500 children have gone missing in high-tech Bangalore during the last two years. In 2006 alone, the number of children, who went missing was a whopping 2,316, making Bangalore the city, with highest number of missing children in Karnataka.
An assessment done by the state home department of missing persons has thrown up these shocking figures. Sample this: Of the total of 3,264 children who went missing in 2005, 2,208 were from Bangalore. Similarly, of the 3,631 children who disappeared in 2006, as many as 2,316 were from the city.
“It is surprising that children are missing from Bangalore instead of disappearing from the districts. It is understandable, if the high numbers were in districts because Bangalore is the destination for employment and they may have migrated from smaller towns. We only hope there is not a repeat of the gruesome Nithari in Karnataka,” sources said.
Dates: 1st February to 3rd February 2007
The 3-day training workshop organised for Police personnel of Bagalkote district was a great success, particularly because of the commitment and support of the SP, Mr. Ramesh Harihar, and his team.
Bagalkote has 19 police stations; there were 1 male HC and 1 male PC from each of the 19 Police Stations (PS). The only 2 Women ASIs in the district were deputed along with 8 WHCs and 12 WPCs. A total of 60 police personnel participated in the workshop, except for the few who were from Bagalkote town arrangements were made for the police personnel who came from the other police stations in the district.
Mr. Ramesh Harihar, SP (Bagalkote), inaugurated the workshop. The Dy. SP (District Armed Reserve), Mr. Jewergal (Police Inspector), Mr. Papanna (Police Inspector) and Mr. Srinivas (District Information & Publicity Officer) were also present at the inaugural ceremony. In his address to the participants, the SP said that women come to the police station as a last resort and very often go away feeling dejected because of the manner in which they are treated. Most often the sentry on duty does not let her in or she is made to sit outside the police station as asked to wait for the Sub-inspector who has gone out. He asked the police present to take personal interest in each case, in the same way in which they would call a neighbouring police station and request the officer present there to take personal interest if it were a relative or someone they know going to that station. He ended on the note that after this workshop, each of the officers present at the workshop should be able to change not only their attitude but also the manner in which they handle cases of women and children.