IAS and IPS officers find themselves serving on the frontlines of administration, and law and order. Women IAS and IPS officers have held several firsts, won accolades and awards and have battled stereotypes in these male-dominated professions.
HerStory brings to you stories of women IAS and IPS officers who have taken on politicians, mafias, illegal activities and many challenging situations. From Sanjukta Parashar to Reema Moudgil, these women have proven that being true to their conscience is the right thing.
An IPS officer from the 2006 batch, Sanjukta Parashar is known as the ‘Iron Lady of Assam’. Posted as the Assistant Commandant of Makum in 2008, she was given the responsibility of controlling conflicts between Bodos and illegal Bangladeshi militants in the Assamese terrain.
The tough cop is renowned for taking down 16 militants, arresting 64 more and seizing several tonnes of arms and ammunitions from militant groups. Apart from tackling militancy, Sanjukta regularly visits camps for displaced people, participates in the distribution of relief and is an advocate for road safety. She is well-known for being the police officer who gives out toffees to motorists who ride with helmets.
She has a Political Science degree from the Indraprastha College for Women in New Delhi and a Masters, M. Phil and PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Sonia is an IPS officer of the 2002 batch who served as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in the Crime Investigation Department (CID). Sonia played a pivotal role in exposing corruption in the Lokayukta leading to the resignation of its then Justice Bhaskar Rao. She also investigated the pre-university question paper scam.
Sonia proved that she doesn’t shy away from doing the right thing when she slapped a politician for crossing the line. Currently, the IPS officer is on Central deputation for for years and is serving as Superintendent of Police, National Investigation Agency (NIA, New Delhi.
Sonia studied at Punjab University and is a gold medallist in Sociology.
Dr. B Sandhya
Dr B Sandhya was Additional Director General of Kerala Police. In 2019, she was transferred and made the Chief of State Police - Training. Her transfer to a less significant post came as a surprise to many in the police force. During her stint as ADGP, she investigated sexual assault charges against former Kerala Public Works minister PJ Joseph in 2006. In 2009, she implemented the Janamaithri Suraksha Project, a successful model of Community Policing.
In 2006, the Kerala Police awarded Sandhya the President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service. She also received the International Scholarship of Distinction awarded by the International Association of Women Police (IWAP) in 2010.
Vimla Mehra is the first woman Special Commissioner Police (Admin) for Delhi Police. She is best known for serving as the director general of Delhi’s Tihar Jail. She introduced several changes to help women inmates in the prison, including initiatingforeign language courses. As head of Crime Against Women cell, she introduced the women helpline number - 1091.
Due to her credibility, she was made investigating officer in all cases involving women. She also started self-defence training programmes for women.
Roopa is the first lady IPS officer of Karnataka. In her 18-year career, she has been transferred 41 times.
She is known for taking on politicians and even her superiors. As Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) of Karnataka, she exposed the corruption system in prisons and the preferential treatment given to AIADMK interim general secretary, V K Sasikala when she was in Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara Central Jail. She was responsible for arresting former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharati in 2004, removal of orderlies and escort vehicles used by former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa.
Roopa believes that one has to do whatever their job demands, and not give in to the societal expectation of what a woman should do.
“If you want to create history, don’t be that good girl. Girls have been told that it is feminine to act shy, coy, and to bend down. Speak up for yourself! Women have been told to be like mother earth who must tolerate everything and never speak against injustice meted out at them. This has to change,” said Roopa, while speaking at HerStory’s Women on a Mission Summit 2019.
Durga Shakti Nagpal
From first unearthing a land scam in Mohali during her stint as trainee IAS officer to tackling the illegal sand-mining in the Yamuna and Hindon river banks, Durga has proven her mite as a public officer. She became an IAS officer at the age of 24, and made news in 2013 after she detained several vehicles and rounded up many people who were allegedly engaged in illegal mining of sand from Ghaziabad area.
After the incident, she was suspended on flimsy grounds in July 2013, but her suspension was revoked in September after widespread public outrage across the nation.
IAS officer Rashmi Mahesh has been transferred 20 times in 18 years. As executive director of the Karnataka Education Authority (KEA) in 2011, she put a stop to seat blocking and irregularities in seat distribution in medical and engineering colleges. She opposed many college management panels as she completely stopped the misuse of government seats. She was later transferred to the Department of Medical Education (Health & Family Welfare, Bangalore) as Secretary, where she continued her battle against the unethical dealings of private institutes.
After exposing a multi-crore scam in the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Mysuru in October 2013 where she was posted as the Director General, she was attacked by an angry mob.
Rema Rajeshwari has initiated several social and community programmes like providing school kids with access to toilets and clean drinking water. Because of her efforts, nearly 1200 child brides were rescued from their marriage mandaps and hundreds of victims of trafficking and abuse were also encouraged to speak up.
During her decade long career, the Telangana top cop has initiated successful campaigns like revitalising village-level policing and combating fake news when false information on WhatsApp was leading to mob violence. Due to her efforts, there were no fake news-related killings across 400 villages under her jurisdiction.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)
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