At 3am on the night of April 7, 2016, restaurant and bar Mumbai Darbar was still running, in violation of the law, which states that restaurants and bars must shut by midnight. Police Inspector Shubada Chavan, attached to NM Joshi Marg police station noticed this and decided to book it for running beyond permissible timings. Her subordinate Sandeep Shirke along with three friends was drinking in the bar at that time and abused her verbally in public. Hoping to avoid an unnecessary scene showing a policeman in bad light, Inspector Shubada ignored his misbehavior returned to the police station to complete the booking procedure. An inebriated Sandeep Shirke followed her back to the police station and continued to hurl abuse and insult her in front of the police station staff who tried and failed to reason with him. He even offered to pay her the fine money himself to drop action against the Hotel. When she refused, he lost his temper and started hurling furniture around and insulting her and creating a nuisance in the public station to the point his colleagues decided to book him for obstructing a police officer from carrying out her duty. At this point he fled from the police station. In further irony, when journalist Dharmesh Thakkar, who broke this story on Twitter tweeted about it, the official Mumbai Police handle requested him to file a complaint on a link they provided. Let us understand this – Mumbai Police needs citizens to file complaints when their police officers are harassed, publicly insulted and prevented from working? Is this a JOKE?
While it is admirable that Police Inspector Shubada Chavan’s colleagues did eventually decide to take action against the inebriated and misbehaving cop, what is worrisome is that she had to face this from someone who is subordinate to her. We have, in the past seen many instances of police attitudes towards women being derogatory. We have also seen many instances of women police being misbehaved with by mobs or individuals. It is concerning when a police officer on a night shift can be undermined and humiliated for carrying out her duty. Mumbai Police seems reluctant to speak on the matter while assuring that an ACP has looked into it and has recommended action against the errant officer. We do hope that Mumbai Police also has a problem with their staff patronizing establishments in violation of the law instead of taking action against them – in addition to actions for his behavior against Inspector Chavan and other police staff as well as preventing her from carrying out her duty.