Female cops at visarjan keep miscreants in check

Sep 10, 2014, 07:21 IST | Niranjan Medhekar and Namrata Anjana

On the eleventh day of Ganeshotsav, when the roads are choked with people out for visarjan, mid-day observed many female cops working tirelessly to ensure that the women in the crowd remained safe

During the immersion procession at Belbaug Chowk on Monday, aside from the men in uniform managing the crowd, a female police inspector was also seen constantly on her toes, maintaining law and order in the area.

Sushma Chavan is a well-known face of the Pune police, famous for her discipline and no-nonsense attitude.

On the last day of Ganesh visarjan, her duty started from early morning and lasted till late night, and not once was the inspector found taking rest.

“I have been getting the responsibility of crowd management during immersion for many years now. It is quite a challenging task to keep a continuous eye on people and making sure that no untoward incidents take place,” she said.

While she continued to make sure that the crowd vacates the chowk in a timely manner, Chavan once came across a boy, around 10 years of age, and immediately realised that he was looking for his family. Within minutes, she found his mother and handed him over to her.

“Since morning, I have caught about three or four men harassing girls, taking advantage of the crowd,” said Chavan, who has been in the police force for the last 27 years and is currently posted at the property cell of Pune’s Crime Branch.

Women cops step up

With twice as many people participating during the Ganesh immersion this year, mid-day observed many female police officers on duty controlling the mob. Constable Vandana Midgule was seen calling out to the boys, telling them to behave themselves. Assistant Police Inspector Varsha Deshmukh was posted at Lakshmi Road to ensure that the women in the procession were
not harassed.

Deshmukh said, “The toughest time to handle crowds is in the morning, as many people come to the procession in an intoxicated state. Between noon and 6 pm, the sound systems are banned.” Constable Vandana Midgule, who was posted at Kumthekar Road, admits that, as compared to last year, this time there were fewer cases of harassment on the road. As the ratio of female officers to women in the crowd is less, most cops did not take a break throughout their duty. Many also faced the issue of sanitation and finding toilets in the areas where they were posted.

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