Where did Hyderabad’s trailblazing women Station House Officers go?

From enthusiastic beginnings to transfers: An Inside look at the journey of Hyderabad's women Station House Officers

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Dec 26, 2023 | 10:00 AMUpdatedDec 26, 2023 | 1:53 PM

Madhulatha (Left) and D Debora the only two women SHOs now in Hyderabad City. (Supplied)

The Telangana police department’s much-lauded initiative of appointing women as station house officers (SHOs) in police stations under the Hyderabad police commissionerate limits seems to have lost steam, with a few of them transferred to other duties.

Five women were posted as SHO in various police stations when the initiative was launched in early 2023. As the year is drawing to an end, only two stations have woman officers heading them.

The initiative was widely lauded when CV Anand, the former Commissioner of Police in Hyderabad, posted one woman as the SHO.

By March this year, the number of women SHOs went up to five. A booklet distributed at the annual news conference of the Hyderabad City Police mentioned the five still as SHO, though three of them have been transferred.

Also Read: Sunburn Hyderabad organisers booked for cheating

The women officers

Madhulatha became the first woman SHO when she took charge of the Lalaguda police station on 8 March 2022, International Women’s Day, in the presence of then Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and Commissioner Anand.

Lakshmi Madhavi was another SHO. Attached to the Bollarum police station, she was later transferred to Central Crime Station (CCS).

Madhavi Latha who was SHO of Langar House was transferred as a security officer at the Secretariat. Chitti Burra, the former SHO of Afazalgunj, was transferred to the Task Force of the Hyderabad City Police.

Dommata Debora, who took charge of the Secretariat police station, still holds the position,

A senior police officer told South First that several rural police stations have women heading them. He attributed the transfers of women SHOs to political pressure, track record, or based on request due to work pressure.

Also Read: NH-167 collision claims lives of Indian Navy officer’s wife, daughter, 3 others

A woman as an SHO

Debora explained how it is for a woman to be a police officer. Her responsibilities as a wife, mother, and daughter-in-law remain unchanged. Most women in service might have been encouraged by their families to join the force, she said.

“I have been in the police department for 20 years out of which five years is in Hyderabad. I was previously a detective inspector in Begumpet. I served in Cyberabad Commissionerate during the Disha rape and murder case,” the officer said.

I had been posted earlier in Mahubunagar, Nalgonda, Bibidnagar, etc., but the most important cases I handled were in Hyderabad. While I was in Begumpet and going around spreading awareness on good touch, and bad touch, one minor girl came up to me, saying she had been badly touched by her father,” she said.

Her team counseled the girl, filed a case, and arrested the man. “He is still awaiting judgment,” the officer said.

She took pride in saving 53 people at suicide spots under the Lake police station limits in Hyderabad.

Also Read: Cyberabad residents lost over ₹232 crore to cyber-criminals in 2023

Work-life balance

As an officer, she should be available 24/7, but as a mother, she should be available for her children too. “I am late to return home, I ensure to keep communicating with my children whenever possible,” she said.

“I have four children, three girls and a boy. I don’t have a maid at home. I cook, find time for yoga and tending to my plants,” the officer, who dreams of becoming a superintendent of police, said.