Odisha Officer Threatened With Sword: Is India Not Safe For Women Cops Either?

Women Police Officers On Night Patrol
If we go out on the streets and ask women whether or not they feel safe in this country, there’s going to be one common answer. Unfortunately, the answer is not surprising. The cases are right in front of us, and so are the accountabilities. And yet, nothing changes. There’s a mere expectation left for women in India with respect to their safety, and to hear that even female police officers are unsafe further shatters the fading hope we were clinging upon.

In a shocker from Odisha, a group of men chased, abused and threatened a woman police officer with a sword after she was returning home in her car from night duty. The police arrested the three men after the officer filed a detailed complaint narrating the incident.

Reportedly, the incident occurred on Tuesday as the three accused chased the cop in their SUV. The woman sub-inspector of police (SI) identified the car details and the three culprits were arrested from different localities in Bhubaneswar based on her complaint.

Suggested reading: AAP MLA Booked For Threatening Woman Officer Over Phone

Odisha Female Cop Threatened

The incident 

The officer, SI Subhashree Nayak of the Mahila police station in Bhubaneshwar said that the incident happened at around 1:30 am in night while she was on her way back home in her car post night duty. As per her complaint, three men approached her car in their SUV as she was crossing the Science Park area. The men hurled abuses at her and chased after her car.

When officer Nayak stepped her car near the closed gate of the Reserve Police Office, the accused reached the point and started an argument with her.

It was when one of the three took out a sword from their SUV and threatened to kill Nayak when she raised an alarm and other police officers came to her rescue. The men noticed the officers rushing in and fled away in their car.

Are female cops not safe either in this country?

In November 2022, a woman traffic constable was pushed to the ground and molested by two men after she stopped them from entering a no-vehicle zone. The men, who clearly held no respect for women or the uniform, did not for once think about consequences and instead publicly outraged the modesty of a woman.

In a country where police officers represent the state of law and have the authority to publicly call out and arrest the wrongdoers, to be at the receiving end of an attack themselves showcases the systemic mentality of the herd.

Some of our nation’s politicians and lawmakers have constantly advised women, “do not go out at night if you want to be safe.” How about during the day? How about advising men to stop going out at night, because isn’t that the sure shot way to ensure women’s safety?

In a society where women cops are not given the basic respect they deserve, to ensure that they’re at least safe when they’re out there on night duty keeping the rest of the city safe is the bare minimum we can do. The question is, how?

Isn’t it time we take a hard, deeper look into the rot that has not just widened but also been enabled by systematically victim-shaming women and setting their boundaries when it was the men who had to be educated more about right and wrong?

Unless we make women’s safety our top priority going forward this year and ensure that we go above and beyond our power to make every woman in this country safe enough so she can roam outdoors freely, there’s next to no hope left. We have had enough setbacks as a country, and enough women lost, to wake up and do something about it, and do it now.

Views expressed are the author’s own.