Women and Victim Protection is still a matter of great concern in India. The Hanns Seidel Foundation therefore has been committed to this cause within the framework of the 10-year-long cooperation between the free state of Bavaria and the state of Karnataka in order to support its policing. The visit of the Bavarian State Police Chief of Bavaria to Karnataka last month has been a significant step towards this project, which has consolidated and taken forward the cooperation with his Indian counterparts for the next years.
An increasing number of newspaper articles carry reports of assaults on girls and women where the police was reluctant to file a complaint or take any action against the offender. A 15-year-old victim of a gang-rape committed suicide just a few weeks ago – only after she wanted to file a complaint to the police together with her parents, who opposed the idea. Even the intensity of criminal offences against women and children seems to increase: even infants are victims; the number of total sexual assaults sank a little in the year 2015 but is rising. It is not seldom that the police have been under scrutiny in the way the cases have been handled. Causes thereof are manifold: lack of proper training and sensitisation – more so with the police constables, that are the ubiquitous face of the Indian police and enter the force under minimal educational requirement.
Challenges for politics and police are manifold in India’s fast growing cities. In the informal urban areas, authorities often face mistrust and obstacles in cooperating with the civil society. Karnataka has begun to tackle this issue with a citizen-friendly police initiative.
The Hanns Seidel Foundation supports the exchange between Bavaria and Karnataka in the field of Women and Victim Protection and Police Training. The visit of Prof. Wilhelm Schmidbauer, Bavarian State Police Chief, from 2nd to 5th of November to Karnataka marked the ten-year anniversary of the partnership between these two states. Prof. Schmidbauer was accompanied by Dr. Wolfgang Sommer, President of the Bavarian Riot Police and responsible for Police Training.. The delegation was welcomed by the Hon’ble Home Minister of Karnataka Mr. Ramalinga Reddy at Vidhan Souda and had talks with Neelamani Raju, the new Director General of Police in Karnataka.
The newly elected Home Minister of Karnataka (Bavaria’s partner-state), Ramalinga Reddy, emphasised the unique character of this cooperation. During the reception of the delegation he said: “With no other state in the world do we have such a productive and intensive exchange.” Karnataka is financially well-resourced and just like Bavaria, invests increasingly in safety and security and thereby in the police, he highlighted. In some fields, however, Reddy admitted, a lot can be and needs to be done - and here the exchange with other countries is of importance. Because knowledge cannot just be bought, he concluded.
Also Neelamani Raju - who had just shortly been appointed as the first female Director General and Inspector General of Karnataka Police – expressed delight about the visit of the Bavarian State Police Chief and about the project of the foundation: the direct exchange between the two states was precisely what enables an effective cooperation. Professor Schmidbauer added, “also the police system [of Bavaria] is comparable to that of India” and that there have been some empirical values in similar areas in the past that could be shared with Karnataka. Both sides would make use of the opportunity gladly and willingly, which would be laid down as a plan of action of future cooperation. This appropriated the partnership between authorities of both sides on a practical level. Moreover, the Indian counterpart showed utmost interest in the fields of training, women and victim protection, psychological counsel and forensics. The Hanns Seidel Foundation shall continue to support the exchange in these fields and compliment them with its own projects.
The focus on training and advanced training also played an important role during the visit of the delegation - a visit to the Police Academy of Karnataka in Mysore facilitated meetings with the heads of Police Recruitment and Training, that met their Bavarian counterparts for the first time. This gave the Bavarian Police representatives the chance to present the concept and philosophy of the Bavarian Police in an extensive exchange.
The delegation has left with the promise of intensifying this partnership with ideas of exchange benefitting both sides.