Policewomen in Jammu and Kashmir


While on the one hand, we at the national level with a committed resolve to have one thirds of the total police force comprising female, a bare over 10 percent has actually been achieved and that also with heterogeneous dispersal among states/ UTs. Paradoxical, as it may sound, that in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the latest available data, it is just 3 per cent despite literacy rate among the females not below the average national level. It is despite the fact that there being practically no social taboos in respect of women donning the police uniform and thus being in combat dress wielding a lathi, a cane or a weapon as enjoined upon in the pursuit of discharging their duties. It is, again, despite the fact that women of Jammu and Kashmir are second to none in the country in performing quite satisfactorily in any of the areas of activities right from managing households to teaching and learning to practicing medicine, law and other technical and non technical professions, police, army, aviation, civil services and the like. With this background and the available huge potential, the moot question is as to why their percentage in Police Force is so dismal. With this far from satisfactory rather disappointing ratio of a bare 3 per cent, we shall have to ” live” for decades in a row more from now, to reach the ambitious goal and target of 33 percent of women being in our police force. There are sensitive cases of crime perpetrated on children, girls and women especially domestic violence against women, their physical abuse and violation that require women police on preference if not on exclusive basis. We have very rare Police Stations exclusively manned by women. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar topping the list with more policewomen and Jammu and Kashmir being at no.21 position, despite recommendations made in National Conference of Women in Police five years ago, upon which some sort of action needed to be taken by the UT Government, ground situation is disparagingly poor. We have our fingers crossed on when a blue print or a proper plan would be chalked out to start the process of recruiting female in the police force with a vision to attain their 33 percent presence in the force. We recall about the explicit directions to all States/ UTs by the Central Government to create additional posts of women constables / sub-inspectors by converting the vacant posts of male constables with the sole aim that at least a bare minimum posts of women constables in each Police Station could be provided. A separate desk by women must be operational round the clock in every police station. In the backdrop of such directions and guidelines, it is beyond comprehension as to why the position is disappointing in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, the other face of the problem is that top positions in the force are male dominated with negligible presence of females at the top layers against the changed environs in the country when even in Army and other wings of defence, permanent commission at par with males has been earned by females discarding the male dominance and thus giving credence to gender equality. The question whether sensitive duties like handling terror related areas etc could be managed by them, we may add that there are various areas related to the scourge and not only engaging them in taking part in encounters. Tracking arms trail, checking / preventing drugs and narcotics smuggling, in searches and crackdowns, intelligence and similar associated areas, women personnel can show equally better results. Additionally, even when in police stations and in field duty like traffic management, crowd management and control, as advisors, monitors, liaison officers and the like, they are bound to perform superbly. It is unfortunate that for providing gender sensitive work infrastructure and better housing and medical facilities as also rest room facilities to attract more women to join the police force, nothing concrete is being done let alone drawing a time bond programme to achieve the target of 33 per cent of women in Jammu and Kashmir Police. Besides, better training and motivation are required to expect best of their abilities and to make them feel proud of donning the combat dress, not merely for earning a livelihood.