Hyderabad: From being a few women in khaki out to help other women, the She Teams have now become a major movement across Telangana.
Into the fifth year of operations, with grand celebrations slated for October 24, She Teams have been curbing eve-teasing and harassment in public places and have turned into a platform for women to get their problems resolved and teach a fitting lesson to those harassing them.
As many as 2,554 FIRs were issued since 2014 to August 2019, while 5,501 petty cases were booked against those indulging in eve-teasing and harassing women. Around 11,915 people were counselled while 10,466 people were warned and let off so far.
The complaints were received through Dial 100, WhatsApp, social media, Hawkeye and also by directly meeting She Team officials at their office at Huca Bhavan near the Traffic Police Control Room, Basheerbagh.
Swati Lakra, IG (Women Safety Wing), who headed the She Teams when it was launched in Hyderabad, said the concept had become a platform for women to register complaints against harassment they were facing from eve-teasers and stalkers etc.
“If any victim refuses to lodge a complaint out of fear, we book suo motu case against the culprit and take action against him,” she said. Much to the surprise of the police, many of the offenders were minors.
However, the number has now come down, courtesy the counseling given to minors along with their parents.
Such was the success of the concept that at least half a dozen States in the country were emulating the same with different names. Like She Teams, the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has ‘Shakti Teams’ while ‘Nirbhaya’ squads were established in Nashik.
Similar teams were formed in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to come to the rescue of women, she said.
According to Lakra, the She Teams would identify incident prone areas especially bus and railway stations, educational institutions, women’s hostels, parks, and hospitals in general.
Using spy cameras for recording the entire scene, the teams will visit the areas. After observing the stalker’s behavior, the team will nab and take him to the police station with proper evidence of the offence.
The stalker’s antecedents will be verified. Depending upon on the nature and gravity of stalking, a case under appropriate sections of law will be booked. First time offenders are booked under petty cases according to Section 290 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 70C of Hyderabad City Police Act.
If an offender is found to be habitual or if any complaint lodged in specific against the eve-teaser by a woman, cognizable Sections of IPC will be filed against the offenders, including Nirbhaya Act.