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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 17:43 GMT
First female police officer quits
By Tinku Ray
BBC News, Delhi

Kiran Bedi
Ms Bedi 'wants new challenges'
India's first woman police officer, Kiran Bedi, has announced that she is retiring after 35 years in the job.

Ms Bedi says she handed in her notice a few weeks ago and is waiting to hear back from the Home Ministry.

She has become a well recognised face, as much for her outspokenness as for her career successes.

She says she has taken the decision for personal reasons and not because she was overlooked for promotion earlier this year.

'No booze friends'

She had applied for the post of Delhi Police Commissioner, but the prestigious job was given to a man junior to her.

Angry at the decision, Ms Bedi hit out at the government saying it was because as a woman she did not have enough networking clout or "booze friends" like her male colleagues.

But Ms Bedi insists that her current decision has nothing to do with that.

Kiran Bedi
Ms Bedi is credited with innovative programmes for prisoners

"The Delhi police commissionership was a major challenge but I have put that behind me," she told the BBC.

"It is a personal decision. I want to focus on two strong interests that I have, academic and social work."

Her sense of independence was also a strong factor in the decision she said. "I have always set my own targets. The decision to quit is one more step in that direction. I quit because I wanted to increase my challenges."

'Crane Bedi'

Kiran Bedi joined the police in 1972.

As an officer she had to handle a number of tough assignments.

These included Deputy Inspector General of Police in the troubled north-eastern state of Mizoram, Director General in the Narcotics Control Bureau and head of traffic police in New Delhi.

Ms Bedi shot to fame in the early 1980s when she was responsible for having the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's car towed away for being parked illegally.

That incident earned her the name "crane Bedi."

But she is best remembered for the reforms she introduced to Tihar jail, one of Asia's biggest prisons.

Detoxification programmes, yoga, meditation and literacy classes were just a few of them.

Life will be a little quieter now for the no-nonsense top woman cop.

"I will try and complete my book and take forward the social work that my own organisations are doing in the field of rural programmes, family council centres, education for children in prison and de-addiction centres," Ms Bedi told the BBC.

SEE ALSO
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24 Oct 07 |  South Asia

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