Traffic police train women staff in karate

The Mumbai Traffic Police has begun training its women personnel in karate. All 315 women police personnel will be trained by professionals this month, officials said. The first batch of 100 women began training at the Naigaon Police Ground in Parel.

"After women officials were molested at Azad Maidan last year, we felt it was necessary for them to be able to protect themselves. The gangrape in Delhi only heightened the need to have a self-defence programme in place. Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vivek Phansalkar took the decision to start the karate training last week," said Subhash Nilewad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), South region.

The women are being trained by seasoned karate exponent Chandrawadan Govai, who has represented India in competitions across 20 countries.

Each batch will train for 10 days each for four hours daily, from 7-8 am and 4-7 pm.

"Traffic police officials are vulnerable to attack because in addition to traffic duty, they also have to deal with street crime. Only two weeks ago, two of our men apprehended a man who stabbed a youngster at Bharatmata Cinema. It is important that our personnel are strong physically and mentally," Nilewad said.

"It is dispiriting for the force when one of them is attacked. For us, they are women first and then police personnel. This will also send a message that women in people can't misbehave with women in uniform," he said.

Nilewad added that once all women are trained, refresher courses will be held for two days every month.

Priya Gahgare, who is with the Goregaon traffic division, said she was enjoying the training. "Even ordinary women should be trained in karate. It will enable them to defend themselves. Being proficient in karate will also be beneficial to us in daily life. The training sessions are fun, though we fall every five minutes while practicing," she said.

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