In a bid to equip women patrolling team of the Delhi Police with motor vehicles, the law-enforcing agency has provided a team of 16 women constables in the North-East district of Seelampur area with eight scooters along with 16 pink helmets on Thursday. These scooters are also pink in colour and are armed with batons, pepper spray, and hooters to keep the miscreants in check. While the colour theme of the scooters spurred controversy for the Delhi Police, it has justified it saying that the colour will distinguish the patrolling team from the rest and yet make them approachable to women.

“Since the uniform worn by both the genders is similar, the women teams wouldn’t look different from a distance. We wanted a women’s team that had a marked presence on the roads, and yet was approachable,” said Ved Prakash Surya, deputy commissioner of police (north-east), HTreported.

This move by the Delhi Police of especially providing “pink”scooters has received a lot of flak for reinforcing gender stereotypes despite the fact that both the women personnel and the DCP tried to justify its significance.

The women patrolling team will take rounds around the area in two time slots – from 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm when school shut and young girls leave school to go home and secondly when women and girls come out to visit parks in the evening, DCP said.

One of the women constables told ANI, “The aim behind choosing pink colour is to build confidence in women so that they can approach us without hesitation. Women feel happy seeing us. Public-police interaction has increased after this. We are also given chilli powder, spy camera, pepper spray, weapon.” Adding to that, the pillion will also be armed with a pistol.

Sukh Darshan, a member of the patrolling team says that they set out every day from the Seelampur Police station after a briefing from the DCP. “Each pillion rider is armed with a pistol. The scooters are equipped with batons, pepper spray, and hooters. When we move, the public must know of our presence,” said Darshan, HT reports. The team moves around the smaller colonies and villages in the jurisdiction including Maujpur, Babarpur, Durgapuri, Nand Nagri, Main Wazirabad Road, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Khajuri Chowk, Shastri Park, Dharampura and Pusta Road — clocking a total distance of about 20km, twice every day.

Another teammate Malti Sharma recollected that on Wednesday, they had to stop their patrol outside a park in Yamuna Vihar when three school girls approached them as their were being harassed by a man. “We spotted him at a distance, chased and caught him. The accused identified us immediately. He fell on the feet of the girls and begged for forgiveness, but we called the local police and handed him over to them,”Sharma said.

This move by the Delhi Police of especially providing “pink”scooters has received a lot of flak for reinforcing gender stereotypes despite the fact that both the women personnel and the DCP tried to justify its significance. On social media platforms like Twitter, people are up in arms about the fear-factor in the new scooters. One user said, “Is this pink-flowery equipment going to instill fear among criminals of Delhi? Why not give a Bullet to the women constables? At least it will force them to stay fit to handle its weight. This is sheer waste of money.”

“The aim behind choosing pink colour is to build confidence in women so that they can approach us without hesitation. Women feel happy seeing us. Public-police interaction has increased after this.”

Kiran Bedi, who is the governor of Puducherry and a retired IPS officer also tweeted, “Let’s leave pinks and blues to infants. Strengthen the Khaki and not confuse it. The cab drivers can use colours for customer identification. However increased presence of women cops on the streets is certainly needed. #pinkScooter @delhipolice.”

Delhi Police trained 16 women constables in armed combat after handpicking them for this initiative in September. This was done with a focus on reducing crimes against women in public spaces. The city recorded the highest number of crimes against women according to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2017.

Picture credit: Twitter

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