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Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India. She is the second of four daughters of Prakash Peshawaria and Prem Peshawaria. She was awarded a BA degree by the Government College for Women, Amritsar in 1968. She then earned a Master’s degree in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, graduating at the top of her class in 1970. Kiran Bedi later obtained Bachelor of Laws in 1988 from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. In 1993, she obtained a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the Department of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi where the topic of her thesis was ‘Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence’. She began her career as a Lecturer in Political Science (1970–72) at Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar. In July 1972, she joined the Indian Police Service, becoming the first woman to do so. Bedi joined the police service “because of her urge to be outstanding”. She served in a number of tough assignments ranging from New Delhi traffic postings, Deputy Inspector General of Police in Mizoram, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau, to a United Nations delegation, where she became the Civilian Police Advisor in United Nations peacekeeping operations. For her work in the UN, she was awarded a UN medal. Kiran Bedi is popularly referred to as Crane Bedi for towing the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car for a parking violation, during the PM’s tour of United States at that time. Kiran Bedi influenced several decisions of the Indian Police Service, particularly in the areas of narcotics control, Traffic management, and VIP security. During her stint as the Inspector General of Prisons, in Tihar Jail (Delhi) (1993–1995), she instituted a number of reforms in the management of the prison, and initiated a number of measures such as detoxification programs, Art of Living Foundation Prison Courses, yoga, vipassana meditation, Murat redressing of complaints by prisoners and literacy programs. Her initiatives for the practice of Vipassana meditation were documented in the film Doing time, Doing Vipassana. For this she won the 1994 Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship’, to write about her work at Tihar Jail. She was last appointed as Director General of India’s Bureau of Police Research and Development. In May 2005, Kiran Bedi was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Law in recognition of her “humanitarian approach to prison reforms and policing”. On 27 November 2007, she expressed her wish to voluntarily retire from the police force to undertake new challenges in life. On 25 December 2007, the Government of India agreed to relieve Bedi of her duties as Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development. Kiran Bedi along with 15 other police officers set up Navjyoti India Foundation (NIF) in 1987, NIF started with a de-addiction and rehabilitation initiative for the drug addicts and now the organization has expanded to other social issue like illiteracy and women empowerment. In 1994 Bedi setup India Vision Foundation which works in field of police reforms, prison reforms, women empowerment and rural and community development. Her efforts have won national and international recognition, and her organizations were awarded the “Serge Soitiroff Memorial Award” for drug abuse prevention by the United Nations. In early December 2010, Bedi and others formed India Against Corruption (or “Bhrashtachar ke Virudh Janyudh”) as a way of receiving public support and input on the group’s alternate Lokpal Bill, a set of laws proposed to give jurisdictional authority over anti-corruption bureaucracy to the Lokpal and proposed as an alternative to the The Lokpal Bill, 2011 which sought only to give advisory authority to the Lokpal. On 16 August 2011, key members of the India Against Corruption (IAC) including Bedi were arrested four hours before the planned indefinite hunger strike by Hazare. Bedi and other activist were later released in the evening same day. After twelve days of protests and many discussions between the government and the activists, Parliament passed a resolution to consider three points in drafting of Lokpal bill. During the period of Bedi’s involvement, IAC protested against corruption and urged the government of India to enact the Lokpal Bill. Although Kiran Bedi was a prominent members of the India Against Corruption movement, along with Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, Bedi split from the group in November 2013. Bedi did not join the Aam Aadmi Party, which evolved from a section of the India Against Corruption. Before the Indian general election, 2014, she declared support for Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. Kiran Bedi is most critical of the policies adopted by Aam Aadmi Party even though she endrosed the same before this party formed the government in Delhi.