Delhi gets its Real Life Charlie’s Angels

Don’t mess with women in crowded spaces, you never know which one will turn around, flash their badge and knock the living daylights out of you with precise high-kicks, blows and punches.

Police chiefs decided to form an all-women squad specially trained in martial arts, dressed in plain-clothes at public places with high footfalls in Delhi.

The all-women karate unit has been championed by Delhi police chief Bhim Sain Bassi. Known as ‘Charlie Papa’ on police radio, he has stressed women’s safety as a priority since taking the top job in 2013.

And after months of intensive training, these “Charlie’s Angels”- as referred to fondly by their Trainer Vishal Jaiswal, a blackbelt in Japanese Shotokan-style karate-  are almost ready.

“My mission is to make them like Charlie’s Angels, fearless and fearsome,” he said. “In fact, I feel a great sense of responsibility while training these cops. I feel like a warrior on a mission.”

“After some more training, the karate unit will be deployed in plain clothes near metro stations and outside schools and colleges, spots which are most vulnerable,” police deputy commissioner Varsha Sharma told AFP. “Young girls and women must feel assured that these guardian angels are there to take care of them at all times.”

“We won’t tolerate any bad behaviour,” leader Bharti Wadhwa told AFP after an intense two-hour session with her 40-strong team, dubbed Charlie’s Angels by their trainers.

“It can start from a simple cat call which then leads to stalking and then rape. We will nip such antics in the bud,” said Wadhwa.

This city of 16 million has had an escalating crime rate even after the horrific gang rape of a 23 year old student on a moving bus two years ago called for desperate reforms in the security system. Some 2,069 rapes were registered with police in Delhi in 2014 against 1,571 the previous year, an increase of 31.6 percent.

Though experts say that the hike is due to more women coming forward in complaining, instead of suffering in silence,  because of the stigma attached, this women- Karate- squad has invited skepticism- because of its minuscule size. There are doubts on what this 40 strong unit will achieve in a city of millions.

“They must extend this training to enroll more police women. The message should go out loud and clear to sex offenders that they are constantly being watched wherever they may be,” said Mriganka Dadwal, executive director of non-profit group SLAP (Street-level Awareness Programme), to AFP.

The squad has already spread out across the city to patrol public buses and talk to passengers about their safety fears.Women commuters called this a “much needed” measure.

 “I use the bus to go to college and often men stare or give you dirty looks. I used to feel helpless but I am glad to know that now women cops will be around to protect us from lecherous men. It’s a great start by the police.” said Sakshi Sharma, a 19 year old student to Business Insider.

Chhaya Aggarwal, a 25-year-old software professional, was more enthusiastic. “Now our fathers and brothers need not worry about us when we are out, thanks to this women’s army out on the streets.”

Original: Business Insider.

[Featured Picture Courtesy:  Business Insider]