A 28-year-old woman from Thane has alleged that police at the Kapurbawdi police station has made fun of her bathing clip and passed it around about which she had visited the police station to complain. After the incident, she approached the Mayor of the District, Meenakshi Shinde, stating her humiliation. Shinde, who is the first female Mayor of Thane, has now written to the police chief and ordered him to make sure an independent women’s cell is set up at each police station.

It was on May 12 that this woman along with her husband went to the police station to complain about a neighbour who was allegedly filmed her taking a bath from the bathroom window of her one BHK apartment in Ghodbunder. The woman retaliated and caught hold of the phone from his hand and went to the police station to file a case against the neighbour.

Shinde said that the woman told her that when she showed the clip to the police officer, he took the phone and circulated it among his colleagues making it shameful for the woman. In her view, the expressions on the police officers face were mocking of her and it made her feel violated, reported Mumbai Mirror.

“The video shouldn’t have been passed around for any reason. Moreover, it was shown to other people in front of the victim and she was subjected to stares by the officers,” said Shinde. She called out on the lack of female officers in the police station and added,

“She had been violated once by the accused, and then felt violated again by the officers who showed the video to other male staff. There was no female officer present and that is against the legal guidelines.”

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On May 18, she wrote a letter to Thane police commissioner.

“Basing the letter on the incident, I raised the question of lack of women constables at the police station. Ideally, each police station should have an independent women’s cell, which the women can approach in such cases,” said Shinde.

While the accused was arrested by the police under section 354 and bailed out the same day, there has been no action taken on the formulation of independent women’s cell.

On being contacted, the Joint Commissioner of Police Madhukar Pandey denied any mention of the woman’s case as he said,

“I don’t remember that the Mayor’s letter mentioned any specific case. However, it did mention the need for women constables and special cells, which already exist.”

About the woman’s case and the alleged horrible incident that took place in the police station, he said, “The duty officer saw the video and then took it to the senior inspector for his cognizance. The FIR was lodged immediately and the man was arrested. No one else was made to see the video.”

“According to the duty officer, a female constable was there. However, we have asked the senior inspector of Shrinagar police station, who is a woman officer, to investigate this,” he added.

The case has now moved to Vartak Nagar police station where a female officer is handling it.

SheThePeople.TV had earlier had a conversation with  Ravikant of Shakti Vahini. The organisation has a huge network of law enforcement agencies to tackle violence, exploitation and assault again women and children. On being asked about the need of the hour to tackle law and order issues, he had said, “See, the current system of police cannot tackle these cases. A concerted effort by the government in building infrastructure for police agencies and strengthening and sensitizing them about these issues needs to be in place. The current lot does not understand the issues of violence against women as we do and so they deal with these issues in the same patriarchal way as they would in their villages.”

Picture credit- Better India