Retired DGP R Sreelekha IPS has been urged to open up on her recent revelations about the prevalence of misogynism in Kerala's 'patriarchal' police force.
In a recent interview given to Manorama News, Sreelekha spoke about her experiences in the force that she joined in 1987 as the first woman IPS officer in the Kerala cadre.
Sreelekha had said how, at one point, she was on the verge of resigning as she couldn't take the abuses from within the department.
The revelations that were widely discussed on social media finally reached the floor of the state Assembly on Tuesday. UDF MLA and former Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan raised the issue in the house, asking the government if the matter has come to its notice.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in response said that his government will look into the allegations once she provides clarity on the same.
"She hasn't said at what stage she faced such an experience. To my knowledge she never spoke to me about any kind of wrong approaches from governments," said the CM.
The Kerala State Women's Commission has also asked Sreelekha to shed light on the incidents she raised in the interview. P Satheedevi, chief of the commission, said that an enquiry will be launched.
'A woman has come to pollute the department'
Sreelekha said in the interview that being a torchbearer for women in the force wasn't an easy task.
"The first 10 years were so tough," said Sreelekha. "The public accepted me with open arms, even the media. But it was not the case from within the department."
The IPS officer is certain she faced such issues because of her gender. "Yes, definitely because I was a woman. If I was a man I wouldn't have faced such issues.
"The police department is a masculine force, it functions under a patriarchal system.
"I heard from a colleague that shortly before I joined, a DGP said that a woman is coming to pollute our department and everyone laughed."
Sreelekha said even her subordinates abused her verbally. "I have heard a lot of cuss words, even police officers abused me over the phone. They'll say there is a call from the CM's office and when I answer I'll hear a stream of expletives. I knew who they were," she had said.