When woman cops double as marriage counselors

SRINAGAR: Besides cases of regular policing, Kashmir’s lone women police station is witnessing an increasing rush of couples wanting to settle their marital disputes.
Instead of filing cases of assault or harassment, the warring couples want the officers at Women’s Police Station, Rambagh to counsel the other party into a compromise or a divorce.
For example, a man, in his thirties, turns up at the police station narrating his “ordeal” to the female police inspector, Gulshan Akhtar.
The man, Mohammad Amin (name changed), shows his bruises that his wife has allegedly inflicted on him in a scuffle. He accuses his wife of ill-treating his mother and creating fuss over petty issues.
His wife, Shaheen(name changed), accuses Amin of harassing her and abandoning her. “He threw me out of the house with a girl child. I have an unmarried sister and widowed mother. How will they bear my expenses?” Shaheen tells the police officer.
The police station, Akhtar says, sees almost 25 such cases a day. Established in 1998, the police station has seen a surge in the number of cases in the past few years.
The officer tries to counsel the couple into a compromise. She counsels both of them separately.
“After all she is your elder. You have to be respectful to your mother-in-law. Now stay at your mother’s house for a week or so. He’ll come to take you back once he calms down,” Akhtar tells her.
Then she calls the husband and the mother-in-law, and advises them to be compassionate and think about the future of the children the couple have.
“It is getting hectic as more and more such cases are pouring in from all parts of the Valley,” Akhtar says.
“Even we have tackled some cases from Ladakh,” she says.
The worst case of the day comes when a couple, married for past 16 years, creates a scene at the police station. While wife claims that her husband was mentally sick, the husband accuses her of adultery.
As the atmosphere heats up, the wife hurls her slipper towards the husband, a doctor by profession. He picks up a chair and shouts “Tumhare sar ke dou tukday kar dunga, Jala ke raakh kar dunga (I’ll smash your head and burn you to ashes).” At this time, the constables come in to tackle the situation.
“I refer the cases to my subordinates, but many times people want me to attend to their pleas,” says Akhtar.
She blames materialism and growing intolerance towards the in-laws as the reasons for the feuds between couples. Extra-marital affairs also are a major cause.