With women security as its top priority, the Obavva Pade will create awareness in schools and other places.
Onake Obavva is a celebrated woman warrior and patriot, who single-handedly fought the forces of Hyder Ali with a pestle, way back in the 18th century in the Chitradurga kingdom of Karnataka.
Taking inspiration from her, today, the district police department has named the all-women police squad as Obavva Pade, after the brave patriot. Obbava Pade aims to protect and educate women in the region and combat increasing crimes against women in the state, according to news reports.
In an article on The Better India Shrinath Joshi, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Chitradurga, is quoted saying:
"The women have been deployed in the district to create awareness and enforce law and order."
The Obavva Pade team is led by four Assistant Sub Inspectors of Police (ASIs) and has nearly 45 women police constables, all aged below 40. The team is trained for self-defence, and keeps a vigil on crimes against women in public places.
While two Obavva squads are posted in the district headquarters, there is one each in Holalkere, Challakere, and Hiriyur taluks of Chitradurga. The SP explained:
“The reason to start this squad was to keep a tab on the increasing offences against women in the society and also to create awareness among women. In Chitradurga, especially in villages, caste conflict exists and general awareness levels are very low."
The squad teaches women how to protect themselves, and educates them about Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, offences under the Indian Penal Code, cybercrimes, and mobile offences to name a few. They also work with schools, gram panchayats, and accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers as well as Stree Shakti groups.
The initiative was implemented as a pilot project in Bengaluru in April by the Bengaluru West division. The Obavva Pade has seen success at the Bengaluru city bus stand, which has become a safe public space for women. Till recently, anti-social elements would lurk in the shadows, and a walk over the foot-over bridge was close to impossible as it was always populated by sex workers.
The ten women constables for the squad are handpicked from different police stations in the city, according to a police inspector. In order to create fear among anti-social elements, the squad wears a special uniform.
There is a lot of hope riding on the squad to bring down crime against women in the state.