A controversial police advisory to women issued in West Bengal on how to deal with sexual harassment in public has sparked outrage beacuse of its similarity to rules enforced by khap panchayats
Kolkata: The West Bengal police has sparked off outrage after issuing a list of do's and don't's for women which virtually echo the archaic laws of kangaroo courts.
The Bidhannagar Police on its website, in a section titled 'Tips on How to Prevent Eve-Teasing', has given instructions to women residents of Salt Lake area near Kolkata about the dress code they should adopt and when to leave the house.
The page which is signed by the recently appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police, detective department, Bidhannagar City Police, Kankar Barui also recommends that women should avoid travelling in crowded trains and buses altogether.
The West Bengal Congress unit has demanded that the state government takes strict action against Barui for issuing such a notice.
Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M) leader Mohammad Salim on Tuesday also described the diktat as unacceptable, and asked it to be withdrawn.
"After the creation of the new commisioneriate by Mamata Banerjee..., day in and day out, women are being subjected to harassment, and eve teasing is taking place, the older peoples are not secured at their home. Police instead of taking responsibility and gearing up in giving assurance of their security, they are asking women not to come out. This is unacceptable. I think the women, students and youth organizations, and all rationale people, modern looking people, must come out and protest. This diktat of Bidhannagar commissionerate under Mamata Banerjee's Government must be withdrawn," said Salim.
"It's very unfortunate. What's happening in Bengal, you can find out, the police and security personnel who were supposed to protect the women, on one hand they are refusing to recognize and acknowledge that incidents are taking place. ...even those who are filing their complaints their own families the victims are subjected to harassment and attacks by the goons," he added.
"On the other hand the police instead of taking the responsibility to find out the culprits ... and give an assurance and create an atmosphere where womenfolk can move around as a equal citizen pin this country and particularly in this state. Never before in Bengal it was heard in Bengal that women are subjected to harassment and threat of rape," he further added.
The bizarre do's and don'ts, are similar to the rules set by khap panchayats in the country.
Here are the 12 points suggested by the police on the website:
1. Dress decently.
2. Have emergency speed dial numbers in your phone.
3. Self defense.
4. Aware of people around you.
5. Avoid late nights.
6. Carry pepper spray.
7. Be well behaved.
8. Stay in groups.
9. Avoid travelling in crowded bus or train.
10. Avoid going in isolated places
11. Walk in well-lit and frequented areas.
12. Be street smart.