Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service, took voluntary retirement in 2007 after 35 years on the force and has, since 2016, served as Puducherry's lieutenant governor.
To get an idea of how safe Puducherry is for women, Bedi recently took to the streets late at night in "incognito" mode. Riding pillion on a two-wheeler with a dupatta partially covering her face, she travelled unnoticed along the streets of Anna Salai and the New Bus Stand area.
On Bedi's orders, senior police officials are present around all movie theatres, New Bus Stand area, and the railway station, with a motorcycle patrol from 11 pm–4 am. According to The Hindu, Bedi said in a WhatsApp text,
"The night round was done incognito, as a pillion rider, to personally check how secure it was for women at night to be on the road. It seemed safe. But there was not a single cop anywhere spotted, unless they too were in disguise."
Speaking with Times of India, Bedi pointed out a few issues that she came across. She said,
"There were several triple riders, who were over speeding. Also, there were noisy bikes without silencers. Certain measures will be put in place to improve night-time security."
She took to Twitter, saying,
However, Twitter had mixed opinions on her initiative. While some applauded her for her proactiveness, there were several others who chastised her for the fact that neither she nor the woman riding the two-wheeler (a Raj Nivas employee) was wearing a helmet.
Responding to this, Bedi tweeted,
"Not wearing a helmet was a careful choice. I wanted to appear vulnerable and wanted to see how we women riding a bike were looked at."
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- Kiran Bedi
- Anna Salai
- Indian police
- Lieutenant Governor of the state of Puducherry