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Adityanath Directs Appointment of Additional SHO in Every District

Social activists and former IPS officers said that the state government wants to win over women, not empower them.
Social activists and former IPS officers said that the state government wants to win over women, not empower them.

 Image Courtesy: PTI

Lucknow: With an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the BJP is wooing Uttar Pradesh’s women voters. Chief minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath instructed police commissioners and district police chiefs on Monday to post a woman station house officer (SHO) at an additional police station over and above the Mahila Thana. 

Emphasising women’s reservation in the police force, Adityanath interacted with around 2,600 officers of all levels—ADGs, IGs, commissioners, chiefs, SHOs and circle officers—from the newly constructed CM Dashboard office at Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan in Lucknow to ensure immediate compliance and post one additional woman SHO in every district.

Such officers should be given an efficient team,” he added. The government said that the decision would also instil confidence among women and enable them to approach the police without hesitation.

Adityanath cautioned police officers that every police station, circle, range and zone is being monitored. “Personnel will be immediately removed or terminated in cases of irregularity,” he said.

He said that the new phase of Mission Shakti, which will start during Navratri, would be useful to create awareness of women’s safety and rights.

As part of Mission Shakti, two women police personnel and ASHA, Anganwadi workers, ANMs, BC Sakhis and Rozgar Sevaks will engage with women at Gram Panchayats to educate them about their rights and inform them of the government’s efforts to ensure their safety.

The CM directed the officials to take strict action against criminals with a zero-tolerance policy. No matter how powerful the criminal is, strictest action should be taken as per the rules.

Based on the action taken to expose crimes like murder, rape, robbery, dacoity and religious conversion from January to August and the performance on the Integrated Grievance Redressal System portal, he communicated with officers from approximately 24 districts.

“Public interest is the government’s top priority,” Adityanath said adding that “negligence cannot be accepted. The increase in crimes and the delay in filing chargesheets and disposal show the negligence of a police station, circle and the police superintendent concerned”.

He instructed the SHOs to treat every complainant with respect. “Listen to their pain and provide an appropriate solution,” he said.

Appreciating the work of the women-beat officers, the CM encouraged the SHOs to communicate with them and ‘gram chowkidars’ once a week. Regarding bike stunt performers and vehicles bearing religious symbols, he directed continuous patrolling in sensitive areas.

The CM also gave instructions for deploying qualified police personnel in the Government Railway Police and border police stations.

He emphasised the importance of raising awareness about helpline numbers such as 108, 1090 and 181, and ensuring that eligible women are enrolled in public welfare schemes like pension, Kanya Sumangala and Matritva Vandana Yojana.

Social activists and former police officers believe the initiative to appoint an additional woman SHO in every district is not a “step towards women empowerment but to win applause”.

Lucknow University’s former vice-chancellor Roop Rekha Verma told Newsclick, “Appointing some women in police stations or sending them to Parliament will not change the situation. Gender sensitisation is the need of the hour. It is a myth that women understand women’s problems.”

Mentioning the murder of gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf in police’s presence at a hospital in Prayagraj, Verma said, “What has happened in the case even after more than five months? What message did the police give to the public regarding law and order? Neither the prejudice in society has ended nor the government has done concrete work.”

Speaking to NewsClick former IPS officer Sutapa Sanyal said “This is a welcome step because 50% of the population is women, and most female survivors/victims want to talk to female police officers about their issues. This will bring diversity to the force, as every law enforcement organisation must be representative of the society it serves. However, merely introducing diversity is not sufficient; the sense of inclusion among female police personnel and their training and capacity building are crucial, as they need to become integral to the decision-making process. Lastly, female police personnel must maintain their unique identity, as they possess many innate qualities that should be utilised in their work.,”.

Former IPS officer Amitabh Thakur termed such actions “cosmetic and without any depth”. “The truth is that the government is doing nothing to improve the situation of the Mahila Thanas, which are dens of corruption, extortion and atrocities against women,” he told Newsclick.

If the government is serious about curbing crimes against women, “it should improve the condition of Mahila Thanas to achieve the objectives for which they were established instead of making such announcements”, he added.

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