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281 eve-teasers caught by ‘SHE Teams’ in one year

The ‘SHE Teams’, which was set up to keep a hawk’s eye on eve-teasers, caught as many as 281 offenders in Hyderabad, including 129 minors, since October last year, an official said on Wednesday.

On October 24 last year, the Hyderabad police had set up SHE Teams to crack down on eve-teasers and stalkers, which was subsequently extended across Telangana districts.

“The SHE Teams were launched with the sole aim and objective of curbing eve teasing/street harassment and providing a safe and secure Hyderabad city for women,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crimes and SIT) Swathi Lakra said.

Various types of modus operandi were seen, including stalking and teasing, passing lewd comments, trying to touch inappropriately at crowded places, sending abusive messages to the victims on their mobiles, making calls and talking indecently during late nights. Harassment through social media like Facebook and e-mails and using previous friendship or proximity, photos, videos and trying to blackmail the victim online were some of the ways seen, she explained. Cases were also booked for public nuisance using bikes, four wheelers, etc to attract the attention of the ladies near colleges, schools, etc.

“12 cases were booked under the Nirbhaya Act, besides 10 IPC cases in different police stations were registered apart from 126 petty cases. 19 persons were jailed, 101 persons were fined, 39 were warned and let off,” the officer said.

“Till now, a total of 883 complaints were received through various means and attended to,” Swathi Lakra said.

Apart from counselling by the officers, for minors caught in eve-teasing, professional counselling sessions were conducted along with their parents in order to guide them for the career and mould their behaviour in a proper way to become good citizens, she said adding services of six member panel of professional psychologists and NGOs were taken.

The juvenile offenders are counselled and made to participate in anti-eve teasing campaign, she said.

Apart from catching the accused and booking cases, to change the mindset of the people and to create awareness regarding SHE teams more than 100 colleges, 70 schools, 160 private and working women hostels, government schools, social welfare hostels etc were covered. All major crowded areas like bus stops, railway stations, parks, shopping malls, labour addas, slum areas, cinema theatres, RTC buses, MMTS trains, seven seater autos etc were covered, she added.

“Volunteers from all age groups, reformed accused, NGOs, and eminent persons from all the fields, including the print and electronic media, are doing their best possible to help in taking forward the programme as a people’s movement to change the mindset of the people as a whole gradually,” the Additional CP said.

The officers of a SHE Team, who are in civil dress, are deployed near colleges and other public places. A single SHE Team consists of a male or female sub-inspector, a woman police constable and three police constables, who carry hidden cameras for video recording.