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More than 60 sexual harassment cases against Delhi police in decade - report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:05 GMT
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Police in New Delhi December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
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NEW DELHI,  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Complaints from women who were shown porn films and exposed to sexual language were among 62 charges of sexual harassment made against police in the Indian capital over the last decade, the Times of India reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the complaints made between 2003 and 2013 included cases in which female police officers were sexually harassed by their male colleagues.

It said that of the 62 cases registered, the accused in eight cases were acquitted and charges in another four cases could not be substantiated.

The statistics were reported following a query filed under the Right to Information Act asking for details of cases of harassment by Delhi's police.

"In a complaint received last year by Police Control Room branch, a woman constable alleged that her colleague 'used to shown porn films and use filthy language during duty,'" reported the Times of India.

"In three other complaints received last year in the PCR branch, it was alleged that women staff were sexually harassed and experienced 'indecent behaviour' from their male counterparts," it added.

Lawyers and women's rights groups say India’s male-dominated police force is insensitive to issues of gender and often displays a "blame the victim" mentality towards victims of rape and sexual assault.

An investigation by India's Tehelka magazine and the NDTV news channel in April 2012 found more than half the police officers interviewed had prejudices in such cases - blaming the victim's clothes or the fact that she was out at night, suggesting that she was "asking for it".

Since the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in December 2012, the city's 80,000-strong police force has been trying to transform its image through recruitment of more female officers and gender sensitisation classes.

But activists say more needs to be done to ensure police who are guilty of crimes against women are held accountable.

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