“Yet another brave woman”- 25 April 2012
A few days ago, the Mamata Banerjee Government in West Bengal transferred Damayanti Sen, the dashing first woman chief of the Kolkata’s Crime Branch. The reason of effecting the immediate transfer of Sen, a Joint Commissioner of Police, was that she had succeeded in cracking a rape case perhaps against the wishes of the Chief Minister. Damayanti Sen will now act as a Deputy Inspector General of Police (Training) at Barrackpore Police Training College.
What pained the heart was not just the transfer per se, but the fact that Damayanti Sen got ‘punished’ for her courage to crack a rape case that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had dismissed as ‘fabricated’. The officer paid a price for her investigative skills that helped her crack the case and establish who the culprits were.
Of course, such persons do not mind getting transferred anywhere. They know that such ‘punishments’ are integral parts of the life of a courageous officer, man or woman. They know they can get tossed around, pushed into corner, even insulted and left behind in the promotion race. They do not seem to mind all that. Damayanti Sen seems to be one such officer. Hats off to her.
The one name that springs to mind immediately is that of Kiran Bedi. We all know how Kiran Bedi got tossed around and insulted. We know how the Police Department chose for her inconsequential positions where she would be rendered ineffective. Tihar Jail was one such place where she was supposed to have been ‘dumped’ by her colleagues as a punishment for her smartness, dedication to duty, and superior policing abilities.
But from Tihar, Kiran Bedi sent a clear message: No matter where you put me, I will perform and dazzle all of you. Tihar, then, became Kiran Bedi’s point of a new redemption. It was in Tihar Jail that she worked with dangerous criminals and proved herself smarter and better than all of them and introduced methods that have by now become major milestones in jail reforms all over the world.
So, instead of getting ‘punished’ at Tihar Jail, Kiran Bedi got the coveted Ramon Magsaysay Award, something her adversaries could never think of. Then they fumed and fretted and swore, but could do nothing more. And even as they did all that, Kiran Bedi was well on her way to become a legend in her own lifetime.
Damayanti Sen, too, can hope to traverse a similar road. She has earned already a great reputation as a super cop. She is known for her strictness with the criminals and kindness with her staff. She has also made a good name for herself among the citizens on the strength of her no-nonsense personality. Therefore, she, too, has a good chance to rise above the mundane and achieve the status as a tough officer who does not compromise with principles and values and ethics.
Of course, every woman officer may not be of such a variety. There could be women police officers who could be run-of-the-mill personalities with ‘normal’ aspirations of safe life. Some of them may be indulging even in corrupt practices. That is the reason why Kiran Bedi remained Kiran Bedi and no other woman officer could achieve that kind of a status. About such officers, one has nothing to say.
Yet, Damayanti Sen’s case appears different. She remained unfazed even when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the rape case a ‘fabricated’ incident. She persisted with the investigation and got hold of the CCTV footage and established who the suspects were. That was a terrific work, which the woman Chief Minister did not appreciate, and ordered transfer of Damayanti Sen.
Of course media reports do not suggest g that Mamata Banerjee ordered the transfer. But one can read between the lines easily to infer that she may have played her own role to throw out Damayanti Sen to the Police Training College.
At Barrackpore, too, Damayanti Sen can show her class. She can improve the quality of the graduates of the college and push into the system better-trained Police officers, men and women, and serve the people of West Bengal more meaningfully. Whether she is able to do that or not only time will tell.
Meanwhile, all we can do is to wish Damayanti Sen all the best.