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Women police officers

It is long time that recruitment was thrown open to women in the State in police service. The decision of the Government for permitting the desiring women to join the police service was motivated by two strong arguments. One was that no discrimination had to be made on gender basis in the case of employment in Government service. The second and perhaps the more important reason was that the crime against women had to be brought down and women police would be effective in tackling the problem. Recruitment of women in police service did not proceed under any special rules and regulations but under the existing norms.
However, with the passage of time, it was expected that there will be good number of female police officers at the head of the Police Stations in the State and that would considerably give leverage to the women in the State to register their complaints and get justice done quickly. This has not happened and the number of women officers in Police Department does not show that there is a trend of giving them their rights of promotion and putting them in charge of Police Stations.  In response to an application under RTI Act, it was disclosed that only seven lady officers were heading Police Stations out of total 215 across Jammu and Kashmir. Out of total 215 Police Station spread across 22 civil districts (25 Police districts) in Jammu and Kashmir State, only seven Police Stations were headed by female officers and rest of 208 commanded by male Station House Officers. Out of these six are all women Police Stations and naturally they have to be headed by female police officers. It means actually only one general Police Station is headed by female officer. These are official figures and show that rationalization in the matter of putting general Police Stations under the control of female officers is not justifiable.  Only two armed battalions in the State have female commandants. In the task team managing traffic in two capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu there are only two female officers. Apart from these no other significant post is held by the female officers in the Police Department.
Again, we learn that there are no separate norms for female police constabulary and they are governed by normal rules. It is a matter of debate whether there should or should not be special rules for the women police force. Transfers, postings, working hours, placements, nature of duty and many other things that fall in the realm of norms are the same as for the male functionaries. The only exception is that there is a rule that husband and wife if serving in the Police Department may be posted conveniently at the same place if it is possible. But this is not special to the female police functionaries because it applies to other services also.
We would like to emphasize upon the authorities that giving more space to women officers in the Police Department and placing more Police Stations under their command would not be only justifying the non-gender discrimination but would also become a source of encouragement to the womenfolk of the State to consider the police as a source of help and assistance and not an institution that is meant to generate fear among the people. We know that in many ways women in the State and the country are ill-treated and they usually refrain from lodging complaints with the police. Presence of police officers at more Police Stations would help them overcome this weakness and thus the law and order situation would be improved.

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