Women in Blue: Assam’s Lady Police Officers Celebrate Their Achievements on Women’s Day

On a Women’s day, If it was a senior woman officer narrating how she used her short stature to her advantage for controlling a mob, it was her junior who was enthralling everyone with her experience of becoming a crowd controller from being part of such crowds.

Another officer was sharing her experience as a woman in the force, where even basic amenities like getting a proper toilet was a challenge.

They were among the 13 personnel of the who were participating in an interactive session on the occasion of International Women’s Day, moderated by singer Zublee Baruah here on Wednesday.

Nagaon superintendent of police (SP) Leena Doley pointed out that women who are given a leadership position in any sphere come under doubt as it is usually associated with men.

Though things are changing, a woman has to make clear, in whatever profession she is, that she means business, Doley said.

Accepting that there are some gender-specific challenges for a woman in the police force, she narrated an incident when she used her physical attributes to her advantage.

“I was faced with a mob blocking a road. My juniors told me not to approach the crowd as I am short and could land myself in a disadvantageous position.

“But I used that ‘disadvantage’ and asked the crowd to sit so that they could see me and speak to me about their issues. The crowd listened to me and it helped me break the ice,” Doley said.

Sijal Agarwala spoke about her transition of becoming a police officer almost overnight as she joined the IPS cadre in 2020 immediately after completing her post-graduation.

“When I was a student, I used to be part of the crowd that used to demonstrate for various reasons. And after becoming a police officer, I was controlling the same crowd.

“It is a transition that has led to a transformation in me,” Agarwala, posted as SDPO (Rangia), said.

Ratna Singha, who joined the force in 1993 and is currently the DIG (Special Branch), lamented that representation of women in the force has remained abysmally low.

Women form about 8 per cent of the police force in the state and the national figure is also around 10 per cent, she said.

Some basic problems, like access to a proper toilet, are now being taken care of to a great extent, but certain challenges still exist for women, especially those who have young children at home, in the force.

How you prioritise is the key to overcoming the challenges, the IPS officer maintained.

Another senior IPS officer Indrani Baruah, currently the DIG (CID), also underlined the need for family support for women working in the force, saying it is necessary for young women entering the profession to build up their support mechanism.

Sarmistha Barua, AIGP (Welfare), said steps are being pursued in the department to make the situation more conducive for women personnel.

Lack of toilets has always been an issue. We are now in the process of surveying the requirements for proper washroom facilities in outposts, and barracks, she said.

Aparna Natarajan, SP, Dhubri, spoke about the challenges of tackling the cases of child marriages in her district, which has the highest incidence of such weddings in the state, while additional SP, CID, Gitanjali Doley elaborated on the crimes against women and their changing patterns.

Doley said that incidents of crimes against women were decreasing in some areas due to the awareness drive by various agencies, including the police, with Sukanya Das, ADCP (Crime), at the Guwahati Police Commissionerate also claiming that counselling services were helping a lot of women.

Other officers like Arunima Bhuyan, Bijoya Das, Anjushree Kalita and Trishna Nath spoke about their experiences in handling various cases, especially those dealing with specially-abled victims, children and drug menace.

Being in the police force affects your life. After a point of time, your family doesn’t expect you to turn up at every occasion or even an exigency. We don’t even have the time to quarrel with our boyfriends, Twinkle Goswami, currently the officer in charge of the all-women police station here, summed up.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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