Incompetence Of Women Cell in Jammu and Kashmir

Lackadaisical approach to complaints of harassment

Mareaya Fayaz

I don’t know how many women have a bad experience of getting an anonymous call from some guy who just happens to threaten them or say vulgar things to them on call. The crazy man keeps trying to call and harass, till you block the number. At times, after the number is blocked, these guys will stop. Otherwise they will keep calling from different numbers.
If the calling continues, a woman’s instinct is to call the women cell to report the number in the hope that this anonymous harasser will be identified and punished. I have the bitter experience of finding out that the women cells in J&K do not take these complaints seriously.

This year in February, I was in the university and engaged in a discussion with some seniors when I got a call from an unknown number. As I took the call, the guy starting throwing cuss words and slurs at me in Kashmiri. I was so shocked and just froze. One of my seniors felt that there was something wrong. One of them snatched my phone and disconnected the call.
Other Women’s Complaints Ignored Similarly
As I was narrating to them what had happened, she immediately called the women cell from my phone and told me to report the number. The conversation began with me telling the operator that I had received a call and the caller abused me. She asked me if I already knew the caller, and I responded with a No.
The policewoman advised me to block the number. She said that I should consider going to the police only if the man called from some other number to abuse me.
I was furious after the ugly call, but the attitude of our women cell staff baffled me. The
operator had just informed me that it is acceptable to get harassed one time. Complaints are to be filed when the harassment happens more than once.
The operator also asked me what action I was seeking. I asked her to trace the number and find out who the person is. She told me she will register the complaint and look into it.
No Action, Hurry Only To Close Complaint

After a few months, I received a call from the Women Cell. They asked me that if my issue was resolved, they will close the complaint. I was so annoyed to hear this dismissive attitude that I actually shouted at the operator and told her, “It’s not like you guys did anything to solve this issue. So it hardly matters if you close the complaint.”
At that time, I had thought that the women cell may have considered only my complaint to be insignificant.
One day I was talking to my friend Vaishali. I narrated this incident to her and she told me that the same thing happened with her. She was constantly being harassed by a guy. She
complained to the Women Cell, but their response was: “You should block the number”.
Vaishali blocked the offender’s number two or three times, but he kept calling from different numbers. She eventually changed her number. The incompetence of the women cell to deal with the complaints is noteworthy. It is ironical that this branch was formed to deal with the complaints filed by women and take necessary steps to resolve these matters.

The problem here is that women cell workers don’t see all complaints to be action worthy. They think that a guy threatening or abusing a woman is not a matter of concern. They don’t appreciate that even if this happens once, it hurt’s a person’s dignity. When the abuse happens more than once, it is a serious problem.

It is strange that a Women Cell should consider one-time abuse acceptable. The reality is that timely action is essential in these matters. A stitch in time saves nine. The women cell should be made more efficient to deal with these kinds of complaints. They should be well trained for tackling these issues.


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