Women in UP can now dial 1090 to report harassment
Only women police officers to attend the calls and maintain contact with the caller till the grievance is redressed
Virendra Nath Bhatt
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is scheduled to inaugurate a telephone helpline service in the state for women to report harassment including indecent phone calls, SMSes and MMSes. The service named “Women Power line” will be available by dialing 1090 from 15 November and will be charged at normal call rates. It offers a security cover for the working women college girls, facing insecurity at public places from eve teasers. The power line will not be an emergency service, but will operate between 8am and 2am.
The identity of the caller to the power line will be a kept secret and the caller won’t be summoned to the police station or any government office or the office of the power line. The calls would be attended only by women police officers and the power line office will maintain contact with the aggrieved women till her grievance is redressed.
Women police constables who will run the service have been have been imparted training and also the orientation programme. The selected personnel have also been trained to answer calls in English. The uniform of the women constables posted in power line will be different from the police uniform. They will be attired in a sky blue shirt, dark grey trouser and navy blue blazer with the centre's monogram. The power line service would be further expanded after the staff gets familiar with the hi-tech IVRS-based operations.
“The women power line will not be a toll free service like the emergency police and fire brigade service. The service is at normal, applicable call rates. It’s not an emergency service and will help restrict hoax calls made on the number’’, said Navneet Sekera, DIG, Lucknow range, who is also the nodal officer of the project. “Only 10 per cent of the calls made to city police control room dial 100 service are genuine and worth taking cognizance,’’ said Sakera.
The initial staff strength of the power line would be a total of 45 women constables, 25 male constables, and two women sub-inspectors. “Earlier we had planned to run the service 24x7, now it has been decided to run it in three shifts of six hours each, the first shift will be from 8am to 2pm, the second from 2pm to 8pm and the third from 8pm to 2am’’ Sekera added.
The Allahabad High Court in September this year had made a stinging indictment of the law and order situation in the state. Saying that the school and college-going girls are scared of venturing out of the homes, the court had directed the state administration to take immediate measures to curb the growing menace of eve teasing and harassment of the female students in urban areas of the state to instill confidence among girls and the working women.
Disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, the HC bench comprising acting Chief Justice Amitaav Lala and Justice PKS Baghel said, “The incidents of eve teasing and harassment of females are not confined to just one city. It’s a state-wide problem and the girls are feeling insecure while going to school/college and their work places.”
The venue for running this service chosen by the Samajwadi party led government is the controversial administrative block of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal in Gomtinagar, deemed as one of former chief minister Mayawati's dream project. After Akhilesh Yadav took over as Chief Minister in March 2012, he had remarked that hundreds of acres of land in the state capital have been occupied by the myriad parks, statues and other memorials of Dalit icons constructed during the previous Mayawati regime. Reacting to the statement, the former chief minister Mayawati had warned of serious consequences if an attempt is made by the Samajwadi Party government to tamper with the buildings of the memorials of the Dalit icons.
Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.