world In India, police stations reserved for women

In India, police stations reserved for women

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REPORTAGE – In Haryana, a conservative and patriarchal state where gang rape cases are in the news, it is now the police, more attentive to the complainants, who manage the violence of everyday life.

By Célia Mercier

Inspector Parmila records the complaint of a woman victimized by her in-laws about her dowry.
Inspector Parmila records the complaint of a woman victimized by her in-laws about her dowry. Serge Sibert for Figaro Magazine

On a bench, at the entrance to the Rohtak police station, Sharmila wipes her face with her golden brown veil. The 22-year-old woman waits for her turn, alone, away from the crowd. In the hall, lined with posters of missing people, torn families are muttering in public, villagers wearing turban are waving their arms, women in sari are unleashing their anger. The families are finally called into an office, to explain themselves under the aegis of a policewoman. “A story of dowry”, slides this one. The door closes, and behind, the tone rises.

The Rohtak women’s police station opened three years ago in the heart of this provincial town of 300,000 inhabitants. Two hours’ drive from Delhi, it is bordered by villages, fields of wheat, mustard and millet. The station receives victims of domestic violence, harassment for dowry, assault, rape day and night. Seventy-five police officers and 15 police officers take turns in this three-person building

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