Hyderabad: Mahila Swaraj demands gender sensitization training for cops

Hyderabad: Accusing the Telangana police department of misogyny, the Mahila Swaraj on Monday demanded that police personnel undergo gender sensitization training in handling the crimes against women cases in the city.

“We demand that the police undergo immediate gender sensitization training in handling the crimes against women cases to inculcate gender-sensitive behaviours and approaches,” said a press release.

It was in reference to the recent rape case where a police officer, Inspector Nageshwar Rao, allegedly raped and terrorized a woman and her family.

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The release pointed out that even though the Rachakonda Police Commissionerate issued a press release about the incident, the language and tone of the tweet from its official handle @RachakondaCop on July 9 was “ingrained with misogyny”.

The release further stated that while the victim’s complaint was taken and a case was registered, the police department failed to mention any cases registered by the other police officers who were acting as the accused’s accomplices in threatening the victim and her family.

“The tone and tenor of the press release indicate the prevailing insensitive nature of the Telangana Police department where in paragraph 4 it is written, ‘on 06.07.2022… he asked her to fulfill his sexual desires…’ and ‘forcibly participated in sexual intercourse.’ The usage of the words ‘asked’ diminishes the threatening and coercive actions of the gun-wielding Inspector and sugarcoats the incident as if he was seeking her consent. The same is reflected in the word, ‘participated’ which was used in the press release which and subliminally suggests reduces the seriousness revolving around the heinous crime, which is RAPE,” the statement said.

Mahila Swaraj said that the meaning of ‘participation in sexual intercourse’ requires ‘consent’, which in this case was clearly not there. It said that the press release by the department tries to take away the seriousness of the case and appears to normalize the criminal act which is rape.

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“We express our deep concern about the manner in which this case is being investigated which is reflective of the language used in the official press release issued by Rachakonda Police Commissionerate,” the release said.

Quoting the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2020 report, Mahila Swaraj said that the total crimes against women in Telangana witnessed an overall increase of 11% from 2018. Around 3.5% of the cases pertaining to Crimes against Women are disposed of by the department without any charge sheet. The report also ranked Hyderabad at number 5 among the 19 metropolitan cities in India making it unsafe for women.

“This is despite having exclusive women’s safety centres like She Teams in the city. In the state budget 2022-23, the police department was handed over an astounding increase of 25% more than the previous year. Yet little was utilised for sensitizing the department personnel where 95.9% are men,” the release said.