By bappaditya paul
With the recent instances of police mishandling several cases involving crime against women, the state Director General of Police (DGP) and the Home Secretary will now be touring the districts to impart to the cops a lesson on ways to handle such complaints. The state administration has chalked out the plan in consultation with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
According to sources at state secretariat Nabanna, DGP, Mr G M P Reddy and Home Secretary, Mr Basudev Banerjee will visit at least one district every fortnight and will hold a closed-door session with police officials falling in the rank of inspectors to DIG. For now, they will focus on south Bengal districts, especially the ones that are closer to Kolkata.
“The government is very clear that any complain about crime against women has to be handled sensitively and this cannot be neglected on the grounds of technicalities. The main purpose of the visit is to make district police understand that insensitive remark or behaviour by even a constable, reflects badly on the overall image of the government,” said a senior official in the Home Department.
“Such visits will hopefully keep police on their toes and the message is expected to percolate down to ground level policemen,” the officer said. The DGP and the Home Secretary have on 11 January already visited Barasat, the headquarters of North 24-Parganas notorious for crimes against women. Next in line are South 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Nadia and Murshidabad.
“There isn’t any specific date or schedule for the visits and it’s more of an open ended tour programme that the two of them will decide as per their convenience. The Chief Minister believes such visits will improve the level of policing, especially sensitise the district police on crimes against women,” said another official.
In recent times, police in North 24-Parganas had come in for sharp criticisms for mishandling the case relating to the rape and subsequent death of a girl at Madhyamgram. Although the state Chief Secretary, Mr Sanjay Mitra, gave the police a clean-chit in public, in the private the government recognises that instead of taking the complaint seriously, police had put excessive focus on technicalities.
Murshidabad superintendent of police, Mr Humayan Kabir, was in news few months ago for a remark on the rape and murder of a housewife.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 21 January 2013).