Four po­lice­women cy­cle 1,250 km in 45 days

Andhra Pradesh con­sta­bles were on a mis­sion to en­cour­age women in dis­tress to ap­proach the po­lice

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - K. Umashanker

Four women con­sta­bles from the Chit­toor dis­trict unit of the Andhra Pradesh po­lice cy­cled 1,250 km as part of a mis­sion to en­cour­age women in dis­tress to visit the po­lice sta­tion.

The 45-day ‘cy­cle ya­tra,’ which be­gan on Oc­to­ber 24 and cov­ered 57 tehsils of Chit­toor dis­trict, ended on Wed­nes­day af­ter 45 days. The women were from the ‘She-Team’ (women and ju­ve­nile wing) of the po­lice. Dur­ing their cy­cle rally, aware­ness pro­grammes were or­gan­ised in nearly a hun­dred lo­ca­tions, cov­er­ing both ur­ban and ru­ral areas.

The four con­sta­bles — Nir­mala, Tiru­mala, Na­garatna and Bhar­gavi — in­ter­acted with thou­sands of women on is­sues re­lated to crimes against women, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, traf­fick­ing, and sex­ual as­sault. Po­lice per­son­nel, lawyers, women’s groups, teach­ers, and stu­dents joined the cam­paign in large num­bers. Dur­ing the tour, the women — all of them sin­gle and in their early twen­ties — stayed at po­lice sta­tions, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and women’s hos­tels.

In the course of their jour­ney, the cy­clists had to ne­go­ti­ate some tough stretches, in­clud­ing steep and wind­ing ghat roads, and forested areas of Bhakara­pet, Moghili, Karveti Na­garam, Kai­gal and Pachika­pal­lam.

Ms. Nir­mala said the ob­jec­tive of their mis­sion was to dis­pel women’s fears about ap­proach­ing the po­lice with their griev­ances.

Ms. Tiru­mala said that she had post­poned her mar­riage in or­der to par­tic­i­pate in the cy­cle ya­tra.

Ms. Na­garatna said that ini­tially, she had mis­giv­ings about join­ing the ‘cy­cle ya­tra’. “I had hurt my leg six months ago. But I de­cided to go ahead. I did feel pain in the ghat sec­tions but over­all ev­ery­thing went well,” she said.

Ms. Bhar­gavi said that the sec­ond day of the ya­tra, in the ghat sec­tion, was the tough­est.

“Dur­ing our reg­u­lar meet­ings, it had come to our no­tice that women and girls re­sort to ex­treme steps such as sui­cide even for triv­ial mat­ters. This cam­paign was an at­tempt to com­bat such ten­den­cies,” said SP Ra­jasekhar Babu.

SPE­CIAL AR­RANGE­MENT ■

Mis­sion suc­cess: The con­sta­bles re­turned to Chit­toor on Wed­nes­day at the end of their cam­paign.

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