Published: 13th February 2020
This IPS officer is training students, woman constables in Bengaluru in self-defense. And it's awesome
DCP Isha Pant's mission is to implement programmes that are pro-people and one such programme is the self-defense classes for girls studying in schools and colleges. We speak to her to find out more
At a time, when crimes against women are on the rise, how can the police stop them from occurring is the thought that would linger in the mind of Isha Pant, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), South East Division, Bengaluru City. That's why she decided to train woman constables of the South East division in Bengaluru in self-defense. The young officer, who has always implemented programmes that are pro-people, says, "While the police are trying to make the city safe by patrolling around colleges, schools and bus stops, individuals need to be aware of what is happening around them and be prepared. Veera Vanithe is an initiative that we have taken for the first time in Bengaluru. When I was posted as the DCP for South East Division in 2019, I conducted a meeting with the woman staff to understand their interests. I realised that we were not channelising their potential in the right direction. Many of them expressed that they were interested in an on-field job. Currently, many are engaged with desk jobs. I felt that these women must be given the opportunity to use their strength and capacity in a better way. Therefore, I decided to provide them with training in martial arts and self-defense."
When Isha introduced martial arts classes six months ago, the response was not up to expectations as these constables had to complete their desk job at the police station and most of them had to rush home after working hours. That's when Isha personally intervened and motivated them. As a result, a few more women joined the programme. Currently, as many as 15 women constables are being trained in martial arts and self-defense.
Isha Pant, DCP, South East Division, Bengaluru
Isha, who is extremely proud of these women, says, "Some of them are extremely good with the self-defense techniques they perform. One punch or a kick from them and the attacker will go down. They were trained by expert trainers from private organisations. However, it doesn't stop at training. The woman constables are asked to visit schools and colleges every day to train girls in martial arts and judo throws."
The DCP has worked along with her teammates and prepared a list of schools and colleges in and around Koramangala where this training will be conducted. "For now, we are conducting this programme in government schools and colleges. If private schools or colleges invite us, we are open to teaching them too. We are teaching students between the age of 11 to 21. While we know that it takes months for people to learn martial arts, we take classes for a week in each school or college. Some students have already learnt techniques like hammer strike, groin kick, bear hug attack, escaping when hands are trapped and so on. I feel that this weekly programme is not only enough for them to learn simple techniques, it also creates interest in them to learn more," explains Isha.
Lakshmi Patil, Triveni and Chaitra are constables at the South East Division of Bengaluru
When we asked her if martial arts or self-defense classes are enough to tackle safety issues related to women, she says, "There are several issues involved here and nothing works in silos. Police and law are in place. At the same time, the public has to be responsible enough to see what is happening around them. We have also formed Jagruti team which is involved in performing street plays, spreading awareness about good touch and bad touch, especially among kids, and so on. This is not to create stigma in society, but help them be more careful."
Apart from these programmes for women, Isha is planning to form women patrolling teams who can go around the streets in cars or two-wheelers. She says, "We all speak about ensuring places are safe for women. Hence, this programme of starting women patrolling teams is in that direction. If women walking on the streets see these uniformed constables riding bikes or driving cars, they will feel confident. I am always open to programmes that are pro-people in my sub-division."
Different techniques that students are learning:
When we visited Government High School in Adugodi, Lakshmi Patil, a woman constable and the team were teaching class VIII and IX kids a few techniques:
According to Lakshmi, throat, eyes, nose, knee and groin are the vulnerable parts of a man. Hence, the techniques of attacking a person depends on what position you are in.
What if you are pushed against the wall? In this case, you can push the person away by attacking their underarms, which is another vulnerable area. If your hand is down, then hit their neck, chest or chin and escape.
Grabbing from the back or the bear hug attack: Use your thumb and push their wrists. Then bend down and pull their legs. Once they fall down, either their back or head will be hurt.
Judo throw: There will be times when the person will attack you from the front. Get into the hammer strike position by closing your fingers and guarding your face. Then, hold their waist, lift them and put them down. When their back is hurt, they will feel suffocated and experience difficulty in breathing.
Attack from the side: When the person attacks from either the left or right side and puts his hands around your neck, pull his hands back and kick his knee. As soon as he falls down, hold one of his hands and put yours around his neck