In Conversation On Women’s Safety With DCP Traffic Jaipur, Lovely Katiyar
- IWB Post
- August 10, 2018
I was left with a feeling of unrest after visiting the nearby grocery shop a week ago. The instant I entered the shop a shady looking man fixed his lecherous gaze on me. He looked away only after I stared back at him, only to start staring at me again. When I kept staring back, he shifted his gaze to another woman and it went on. All this while the two shopkeepers who were well aware of what was happening, kept absolutely mum, as if they’d break some sacred tradition if they spoke against it.
Why did they do that? Why didn’t they raise their voice? More importantly, why didn’t I raise my voice that day? And why did neither me nor my mom raise a voice when an cab driver threatened us and dropped us two kilometers before our stop last month? Perhaps I know the answer. It is like feigning ignorance at such instances has been embedded so deeply in our collective conducts that it has become our second nature.
With the same state of mind and a gnawing feeling of unrest I entered the cabin of Lovely Katyar, DCP Traffic, Jaipur to discuss our campaign ‘Vocal Streets’ and its aim to reclaim safety on streets and create a safe environment for reporting of street sexual harassment. However after 45 months of a vigorous interaction with her, I left feeling way lighter and much more confident.
During the interaction, DCP Lovely raised a very crucial point. She explained how effective implementation of law is a two way street and a “dual responsibility” that falls as much on our shoulders as that of the Police department.
What she said made absolute sense and reminded me of my college days. I went to an all girls college and there used to be end number of harassment points nearby. While I was never at the receiving end of any such harassment, I can’t recollect how many times did I witness that happening to others. But what did I do about it? Nothing! Had I raised it to the Police, and had a few more of the women done the same, it is highly unlikely that the police wouldn’t have paid any heed. But we decided to keep quiet.
The problem is that we have been conditioned in a manner that until and unless we are the ones who are at the receiving end, the thought of taking an action rarely strikes our head. “We need to learn to speak up,” says DCP Lovely. “Speak up when something wrong is being done to others or to you, irrespective of the intensity,” she adds.
One of the reasons why we often don’t raise our voices is unawareness and most of the times we don’t know whom to approach. When asked how to target this shortcoming, DCP Lovely replied, “Just call the police helpline 100. Even if your concern doesn’t come under their jurisdiction if you ask them for help they would certainly direct you to the right place. It is that simple.”
She adds, “Plus now every district has a station dedicated to women. There is always a woman on the desk and she’d certainly help you. Even if you are confused about what you just went through and unsure if it is criminal or not, it is always wise to just speak up and raise it. It is always better to approach the police and let them know what has happened.”
Many a time, women are also apprehensive of the moral policing and questions like “what were you doing there at night” that makes them apprehensive of approaching the police. Explaining what to do about such instances of moral policing, DCP Lovely says, “You must be aware that there are many hierarchies in a Police unit. If a person doesn’t respond to your complaint or responds inappropriately you can always reach out to a senior and raise your concern. In our country the police department is the one that takes the maximum disciplinary actions against its own employees. If you report someone’s misconduct, take it for granted that he/she is going to be punished.”
She further adds, “Never be hesitant of reaching out to the police. Think of us as civilians in uniform.”
Speaking on the increasing instances of bullying and harassment by cab drivers and inaction by cab companies, DCP Lovely told us that in case of inaction from the cab companies, we can always reach out to the traffic police helpline or the women’s helpline 181. She said, “We conduct monthly meetings with these cab companies. In case of complaints we ensure that strict action is taken against the driver and he is removed. In some instances, even their license is suspended for three months.”
Towards the end of the conversation, DCP Lovely shared with us a poem written by her and through it explained how there is a need of educating our boys as much as there is a need to educate our girls about instances of harassment. Here is the poem, that she wrote after the Nirbhaya rape case:
Basera kahan hai mehfoos, kahan khatre ki aahat hai
Parinde shazar ko ye dekh kar pehchaan lete hein
Na hogi aab koi bhi beti sare rah be aabro
Au Small Finance Bank, IWB’s Partner for the campaign ‘Vocal Streets,’ is marching ahead to make streets vocal about women’s dreams and reclaim these spaces for their businesses. Hence, Street Safety is our right, and we will own it! Check out its street-smart and safe financial services at www.aubank.in