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Coimbatore

Women cops not just control traffic, they control the urge to pee too

Vidyashree Dharmaraj

Why should not there be mobile toilets for cops deployed on bandobust duties? This question assumes much significance as it is most excruciating for women cops while on bandobust duty, like the recent one in Kodanad. “Be it the visit of a VIP then, or IT raids now, whenever women cops are deployed on duty at Kodanad, there are no urinals. We are compelled to hold our bladders for long hours resulting in health issues,” said a cop who was deployed after the murder of a security guard in Kodanad estate.

“One of the toilets available on the outside of the estate premises was kept aside for private security guards, most of them men, making it inaccessible to us. One can imagine standing for long hours, in a cold place with bladder full. There is little concern on how we manage. The absence of houses along the long stretch makes it all the more difficult,” lament the cops who spoke to The Covai Post on condition of anonymity.

Duty for women cops deployed in the picketing points is equally agonising. It is more so during periods. The cops do not have a place to change their sanitary pads and have to move about with a soiled one for six to seven hours at a stretch. To expect women to answer nature’s call inside the thickets, day or night, could be unsafe going by the increasing man-animal conflict in the Western Ghats, they point out.

Even if circumstances compel them to urinate in the open, the uniform is another hurdle to overcome. “On the one side the government speaks so much about Swacha Bharath Abhyan and against using open spaces as urinals but on the other women cops who wear a shirt and trousers are forced to urinate in the open! Many a time when the cops are deployed on route bandobust, they stand on the roads for long hours and are forced not to pee,” said a policewoman.

A police officer recounted an incident of communal clash in Nanjandu in Ooty where residents refused to let her use the toilet in their houses because they felt that the police were against them. Sometimes even humanity fails to help, she rued.

“Many often you are stuck in the place deputed for duty, especially when a VIP – a CM of a Deputy CM comes on a visit,” said another officer who had to oversee the recent MGR Centenary celebrations that was held at VOC Grounds. “Mobile toilets are there on the ground every other day, but when there is a pressing need, they are removed. We are forced to refrain from drinking enough water for fear of wanting to use a toilet and this is taking a toll on our health. And during summer our situation gets so worse that even if there is a toilet, we find it difficult to urinate.”

It is a serious matter and needs to be addressed with no delay, said gynaecologist G Baburani. Holding the bladder for long hours can lead to infection in urine and vagina. If the pads are not changed for hours it could lead to bacterial infection and this can ascend to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in severe pelvic infection. When the bladder is full, it gets painful and is very difficult to stay standing, she says

Dr Baburani said there were several cases where women cops with urinary infection came for consultation. “Women may also suffer bladder dysfunction where it loses its capacity to trigger the sensation when there is a need to pee. It could also be psychologically traumatic for women if they are forced to urinate in the open because most of us as women are not groomed to pass urine or defecate in the open,” the doctor notes.