Pune is witnessing increasing number of dowry deaths: Smita Jadhav

Head of women grievance redressal cell speaks about the various cases handled by them.

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Pune is witnessing increasing number of dowry deaths: Smita Jadhav


The new head of the women grievance redressal cell of the Pune Police, Smita Jadhav, handles a sensitive posting. As an incharge of the cell, Jadhav and her team have to counsel warring couples to try and bridge the gap between them. A student of history from the Fergusson College, Jadhav has plans to make the women aware of their rights. Chaitraly Deshmukh spoke to Jadhav to know about her future plans for the women’s cell.
What prompted you to join the police department?
I come from a business family. Initially, my parents were not happy with my career choice as they wanted me to become an entrepreneur. I got married and later started preparing for the competitive examination and cleared it in the first attempt.

What type of cases are being handled by the cell?
We do not register the complaints in one go. We first try to resolve matters mutually with the help of 15 different experts and counsellors. Each complaint needs three to four sittings and then only the cases get mutually solved.

Most of the cases are due to ego clashes as both the couples are educated and working. In the recent years, we have come across growing cases of couples viewing each other with distrust. They are generally suspicious about the other partner having an extra-martial affair. Even men approach us and this year, till December 15, we received 12,500 complaints, out of which 20 % cases are those where men and in-laws are approaching us with the complaints of their daughters-in-law.

As many as 48 married women in their 20s have fallen prey to the greed of their in-laws following mental and physical harassment over dowry in the last 11 months. What is your opinion on this?
It is a shocking figure as we are in the 21st century and the city is witnessing increasing number of dowry deaths. Most of the women are in the age group of 20 to 30.

Women have fallen prey to dowry demands. Most of them are educated and belong to good families. Many women do not come forward despite knowing that laws have been made to protect them. Yet, they choose to remain silent and silence kills them. They sometimes approach us but later disappear. We cannot keep a track of each and every case but we make it a point to follow-up serious cases. 

What are your plans for the cell?
We have collaborated with schools and colleges where we organise seminars on sexual harassment, women laws and even interact with students to find out whether at homes they or their mothers or other women are suffering from such trauma.
In addition to that, we are a creating a group of 40 women volunteers across the city who would undergo training in counselling and will visit the victims and follow-up the cases. We can be contacted on 1059 or 020-26111103 in case of any complaints.

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