Indian Police Service officer Chhaya Sharma, who nabbed the accused in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, was awarded with the 2019 McCain Institute Award for Courage and Leadership.
The award, instituted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University,
“is presented each year to honour an individual who has stood unwaveringly for fundamental values and has inspired the world through acts of selfless courage”, the institute’s website states.
Past recipients include White Helmets (2018), Kayla Mueller (posthumously 2017), Dikembe Mutombo (2016), and Malala Yousafzai (2015).
In an interview with The Logical Indian, Chhaya said,
“I am honored to receive the award which acknowledged the entire body of work that I have done and not just the most discussed case. I am humbled by this international honour, but at heart, I continue to be a person who nurtures empathy and kindness in an otherwise tough and hard-hitting profession.”
Chhaya was chosen as the recipient of this award because of her compassion in solving the humanitarian and societal issues.
In the 19 years of her service in the police department, she has solved several sensitive cases, while protecting human rights. The Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case garnered a lot of public attention and media scrutiny, adding pressure on the police to fast track the investigations.
A charge sheet was filed in December 2012 in a record 18 days, and it went through much scrutiny by judicial offices before reaching the Supreme Court. The convicted in the case were awarded the maximum punishment, reports the Daily Pioneer.
Apart from this case, Chhaya has solved many other prominent ones like the PNL Nidhi Chennai scam, and the Delhi Defence Colony bank van heist case while she was SSP (Crime and Intelligence). In 2012, when she was promoted as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chhaya cracked the Baby Falak case, the Sultanpuri gang rape case, and caught notorious criminals like Narender Don and Raju Hakla.
Chhaya who is currently with the National Human Rights Commission, was also the first woman SSP (Law and Order) in Puducherry, and the first woman DCP in South Delhi.
“I am extremely passionate about my profession as it gives me the opportunity to help people in distress. Each time I relieve other people’s stress, I feel satisfied and contented to have done my duty. For me, this profession is a blessing from God and an ode to my father, who I have grown up seeing helping others in need despite scarce resources,” she said.