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News : Women Helpline 1091 is Not of Much Help
Nagpur, Nov 19, 2014 -- Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao may have declared his intention to adopt special measures to address women's security but the existing systems too need a boost. The Helpline (1091) for women, plagued by poor awareness and lack of efficiency, seems to have left many activists unhappy about its functioning.
The woman help line and desk, part of social service wing of crime branch, gets 25-30 calls daily on average ranging from with grievances about in-laws at home to eve-teasing on streets. Sources claimed that helpline personnel alert the control room officials who despatche help to the distressed caller. A section of the women social workers claimed to TOI that '1091' fell short of their expectations when they needed assistance from it.
TOI's reality check on the awareness level about the helpline was shocking. A section of cops too seemed to have forgotten its number. The senior inspector deployed as Control Room Officer (CRO) for Monday, who identified himself as 'PI Patil', could not recall the number 1091 even after taking adequate time to refresh his memory. He seemed to have asked some of his colleagues present in the control room, regarding the number and none could recall it.
TOI's next call was to the police information centre or 'Mahiti Kaksh', meant for media and publicity. The two constables here came up with another shocker. After consulting each other, they claimed the number was 1094. Joint CP Anup Kumar Singh too expressed shock after TOI informed him about the responses of CRO and information centre.
A women activist claimed she herself could not get justice even after repeatedly informing the women helpline about an indecent caller troubling her. "I informed the staffers manning the helpline seven times regarding the harassment to me by a male caller but there was no follow up or action to my alerts. Where is the utility of such a system when it cannot bring justifiable action," she asked.
Another prominent social worker of city stated she was being harassed over phone by a cop himself under influence of alcohol. She was targeted by the constable because she had helped his estranged wife. The activist called up women's helpline on two occasions but no one turned up to extend any help. "The helpline staffers refused help stating since the miscreant caller was a policeman, they cannot take any action," she stated.
24x7 desk service
Women helpline and desk (1091) is attached to police control room but supervised by crime branch. Any woman in distress can avail the service 24x7 to alert the cops in control room who are supposed to send personnel from the nearest police station or patrolling van to the victim's place.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, November 20, 2014