Though the state government has developed state-of-the-art police stations like in Satellite and Maninagar equipped with high-end facilities,women police stations in Gujarat continue to suffer. Many do not even have the basic infrastructure in place.
There are seven women police stations at Ahmedabad,Vadodara,Surat,Rajkot (Gondal),Bhavnagar,Junagadh and Anand. Other districts have women cells running under police jurisdiction.
The women police stations are understaffed and do not have drinking water and toilet facilities,sitting arrangements and patrolling vans. Even lock-ups are absent in most of them.
The one in Ahmedabad lies in a dilapidated condition with crumbling walls and leaking toilets. The water room sometimes overflows and water spreads to the sitting areas outside. There is only a filthy general toilet, said a head constable sitting near the sole lock-up,which is amid a poodle of dirty water formed due to leakage of water from toilet.
The condition of the women police stations in central and south Gujarat and Saurashtra are said to be in a similar condition. The one at Surat is a small office with two staff members.
Mangla Rajesh of the Surat police station: We only have one general toilet for us. There is no water for drinking and other
purposes. The station area is so small that when there is a rush of complainants,constables have to sit outside.
Bhavnagar station complained of water problems and bad working conditions.
Rasila Jadhav said: There is no drinking water here. We have to get water from the nearby booths or sometimes fill it from check posts. We have been asked to use a general toilet and the authorities refused to give us a ladies toilet. They do not even understand the reason for having separate toilets for women.
SI Sushila Patel of Rajkot said the station has no lock-ups,no proper sitting areas and no police vans. Since it is located near other police stations,they have escaped the woes of drinking water and toilets.
The police in Junagadh are disappointed with the claustrophobic working conditions. Only hope from them is the recent promise of renovation.
The women police officers said the state governments casual attitude has led to ignorance about women police stations among the locals or made them careless towards them.
D D Vaghela,in-charge of Women Crime Cell,said: Since there are no lock-ups,they have to depend on counselling to resolve matters. They need professional counsellors to deal with daily cases of domestic violence,molestation. Crèches should be set up near the police stations so that the women can work peacefully.