Bihar and Andhra Pradesh lead in increasing women’s share in police force, says IJR – 2022 report

Mumbai, March 04: Bihar and Andhra Pradesh are the top two states that have improved the representation of women in their police force, according to the India Justice Report – 2022.

At a public meeting organised last Monday by The Bombay Catholic Sabha and the City Core Group of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Maja Daruwala, chief editor and convenor of India Justice Report, said, “Where we talk about Bihar being an under-developed and a backward state, it has done tremendously good work in getting really close to achieving it’s target of 33% women’s share in the police force, coming second after Andhra Pradesh. And where Andhra Pradesh will take only three more years to reach its target, Bihar will take five years.

Daruwala with her friend and trade unionist and human rights activist, Sudha Bharadwaj, at the event.

The report, which assessed the performance of states and union territories in four pillars of justice – police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid – also showed that 23 states and UTs have improved their women’s share in the police force compared to the previous edition of the report in 2020. The basis of their five-year average, the time it would take for women’s share to reach 33% has improved for 21 states and UTs.

Daruwala also highlighted the challenges and gaps in the justice system, such as the overcrowding of prisons, the lack of awareness among youths about communal tensions and police complaints, and the power and prejudice of the police. The report ranked the states and UTs based on various indicators, such as budget, infrastructure, human resources and workload.

“Where are we going wrong?” she asked to the audiences rhetorically, pointing out that Maharashtra, which was ranked first in the previous report, has slipped down to the third position, while Karnataka has climbed up to the first position from the eleventh.

The session ended with a discussion among the audience, where an elderly woman shared a story of how she witnessed a young boy being arrested by the UP police without any reason or explanation. “It’s just not legitimate at all”, she added in a concerning and upsetting tone. Sudha Bharadwaj, a trade unionist and human rights activist, who was also present in the audience, commented that “it only shows their power and prejudice”. Bhardwaj was arrested under “draconian” Unlawful Activities Prevention ACT (UAPA) on August 28, 2018 accused of delivering inflammatory speech during the Bhima-Koregaon event  and got bail after for three years and three months spending in jail, that is why her comment here was really important

Dr. Qutub Iqbal, a member of CHRI – City Core Group, invited the audience to join their project, which aims to educate and empower youths about their rights and responsibilities. She praised Rajasthan for creating a virtual police station, which guides and shows youths how to file a complaint, where to go, and how not to get exploited by the police.

Sidhant Shekhar

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