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Revolutionizing Rural Policing With Vasudha Didis

SP Jhabua Agam Jain’s initiative has led women to step into the crucial role of informants forming a formidable force known as Vasudha Didis. These female informants, operating covertly, are dedicated to alerting the police about crimes against women, girls, and children in their villages. This collaborative and innovative approach prioritized women who were active, fearless, and tech-savvy, ensuring a holistic network across villages..
Indian Masterminds Stories

For decades, male kotwars have stood as watchmen in villages, informing the police about crimes. However, in the tribal-dominated Jhabua district of western Madhya Pradesh, a groundbreaking shift has occurred. Women have stepped into the role traditionally held by men, giving rise to Vasudha Didis – an army of female informants who keep their identities secret and are dedicated to alerting the police about crimes against women, girls, and children in their villages.

Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with IPS officer Agam Jain, currently posted as the Superintendent of Police, Jhabua, to learn more about his initiative.

A FEARLESS FORCE 

With as many as 470 out of 700 villages in Jhabua now having Vasudha Didis, this initiative, spearheaded by the officer, has become a beacon of hope.

“Each Vasudha Didi actively monitors and reports crimes committed against women and children, ranging from social evils like branding women as witches to issues such as dowry-related problems, child marriages, and the sale of illegal liquor, prevalent in tribal areas,” shared Mr. Jain.

VASUDHA ABHIYAN 

Under the Vasudha Abhiyan, these women have been trained not only to report crimes and keep their identities hidden but also to alert the police about various emergencies, including child abduction, female foeticide, floods, earthquakes, epidemics, and exigencies like snake bites or electrocution.

Mr. Jain emphasized the multifaceted nature of the initiative, ensuring a holistic approach to community safety.

CHAI PAR CHARCHA CONVERSATIONS

The inception of the Vasudha Abhiyan can be traced back to a ‘chai par charcha’ in September, where Mr. Jain engaged in discussions with prominent citizens, including senior journalist Chandrabhan Singh Bhadauria.

Inspired by the role of male village kotwars, the idea emerged to train women for a similar purpose. The district embraced this innovative approach, prioritizing women who were active, fearless, and tech-savvy with good networking across their respective villages.

SELECTION AND TRAINING 

The selection process for Vasudha Didis prioritized young, healthy, intelligent, and literate women with comprehensive knowledge about their villages. Criminal records were scrutinized, ensuring the chosen women had a clean record.

“The training, conducted by female cops from various police facilities, covered a range of topics, from understanding court orders to government orders regarding women and children’s rights,” stated Mr. Jain.

TRANSFORMING POLICING

Implemented after the assembly elections, the Vasudha Abhiyan has swiftly become operational in 470 villages. In just a month, the police received 15 specific and reliable inputs from Vasudha Didis, addressing issues such as illegal liquor sales, physical assaults, and domestic violence.

“The timely alerts have allowed us to take immediate action, preventing these matters from escalating into major law and order concerns,” Mr. Jain told Indian Masterminds.

WOMEN EMPOWERING WOMEN

The Vasudha Didis, after their training, were connected through a WhatsApp group, where police officers share court orders and government directives related to women and children’s rights.

This innovative approach has empowered women to provide information on various issues, including disputes, accidents, missing persons, assaults, and even illegal activities like the transportation and sale of liquor.

“The collaboration has not only improved the reporting of crimes but has led to immediate legal actions,” stated the officer.

SP Agam Jain’s vision of empowering women through the Vasudha Didis initiative is reshaping rural policing in Jhabua. By actively involving women in safeguarding their communities, the initiative is breaking traditional barriers and fostering a safer environment. The success stories emerging from the Vasudha Abhiyan underline the transformative impact of collaborative efforts in community policing, setting an inspiring example for regions grappling with similar challenges.


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