Walking a colleague on her last journey

When G. Subbu Lakshmi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Washermanpet, lent her shoulder for carrying the body of a deceased college to the crematorium, she broke many conventions. She was not only a woman carrying a corpse, but was doing so for a junior. The uniformed officer led the procession, carrying the corpse on her shoulder, and other women police personnel soon followed suit.

It was not just her way of showing respect for a valued colleague, but also an attempt to reach out to a member of her own ‘family’ — the family of police personnel. “The last time, when an inspector-level officer died, I noticed there was only a handful of relatives to carry the body. That may happen to other police personnel too. The moment we get into service, we distance ourselves from relatives and friends. That too if it is a day of bandobust duty, very few colleagues will be able to attend the funeral,” Ms. Subbu Lakshmi said, explaining her action.

The deceased, K. Sreedevi, 48, a resident of Vepery, was working as Inspector of Police in the All Women Police, Tondiarpet. She was the granddaughter of P.T. Lee. Chengalvaraya Naicker, a philanthropist and had joined the force in 1991 as a sub-inspector. Sreedevi died due to ill-health, and is survived by her husband and a six year-old daughter.

Ms. Subbu Lakshmi’s gesture won great respect for her from other police personnel.

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