Women activists allege Channapatna officials have repeatedly ignored taking up their complaints, police deny their claims.

They ignore our complaints abuse us Channapatna women protest police apathy
news Protest Saturday, June 30, 2018 - 18:02

An unusual scene played out outside the office of Channapatna Deputy Superintendent of Police in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district on Friday night when a group of around 20 women, mostly daily wage workers, decided to sit in a protest against police officials. 

The group of women who started the protest at 8 pm on Friday continued the dharna well beyond 1 am forcing the DySP Manjunath to step out and meet them. The women organising the protest are alleging apathy of police officials while dealing with complaints by women.

Sukanya, an activist who took part in the protest claimed that police in Ramanagara district consistently refuse to take up complaints made by women and also that the police resort to abusing them when they demand their rights. "Whenever a woman goes to the police station to make a complaint, they are ignored and the complaint is not registered. Instead police officers repeatedly question us as to why we are complaining and often abuse us," alleges Sukanya. 

The calls for the protest kicked off after a woman at Akkur village in the district went missing earlier this month. Sukanya claims that when concerned women tried to file a complaint, police officials initially refused to take up the complaint. 

While the woman went missing on June 8, the police complaint was registered twelve days later on June 20 and the case was taken up only on June 22. 

After reluctantly taking up the case, the police found the missing woman - Kavya (18) - living with a man, Kumar T (25). The police claimed that Kavya and Kumar were married to each other and denied that it was a case of kidnapping. 

However, women activists in the district including Sukanya raised suspicions about the sequence of events reported by the police and pressed the police to investigate further. Sukanya claims that six men claiming to be friends of Kumar threatened her and other activists. 

On June 24, the group of women arrived at Akkur police station looking to make a second complaint in the space of four days, this time against the men who threatened them. "We were threatened by men claiming to be friends of Kumar and this time too, police officials refused to take up the complaint," alleges Sukanya. 

The FIR was registered on June 26, two days after the complaint was made. "The police are yet to take action in this case. They are trying to settle this without having to arrest the men," claims Sukanya.

Police officials at Akkur Police Station, however, deny that they tried to suppress the case and claim that the complaint was duly taken up on June 20. "We initially found no reason to take up the case and found that the woman had registered a marriage with a man and was living with him," says Sadanand, police official at Akkur Police Station.

The police's actions, however, have angered women activists in the district and Sukanya, along with several other women decided to organise a protest outside the DySP's office on Friday. "The protest is not due to just one or two incidents. There are several incidents we want to point out to the DySP and SP," says Sukanya. 

She claims that this is not the first instance of police apathy. "In April, police in Channapatna registered a Section 107 case (Abetment of a thing, disturbing peace and tranquillity) against Jayamma, a senior citizen who had come to the police station to raise a complaint. In May, police also asked Bhagya, a resident of Channapatna to return to her husband's home against her wishes," says Sukanya. 

Alarmed by the protests, Channapatna DySP Manjunath reached his office at around 1 am on Saturday morning and sought time till Monday to examine both cases mentioned by the protesting women. 

Sadanand, a police official at Akkur Police Station denied the allegations and said that police officials are currently looking to arrest six men mentioned in the second complaint. "We have sent teams already to arrest the six men mentioned in the complaint. We will be looking into the complaints made by the women seriously and we reject any claims that we have behaved insensitively with women," Sadanand says.

Sadanand, however, only took charge in Akkur Police Station on June 16 and the officer previously in the police station, Sridhar, declined to comment on the issue. 

Sukanya says that the women plan to protest continuously for the next ten days, each day corresponding to a particular incident of police apathy against women in the district. 

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