New Delhi : “Are you single or married?”, “What’s your phone number, sweetie”, “Main tumse shadi karna chahta hoon”… are some of the pesky calls that female cops handling Delhi Police’s women’s helpline have to contend with daily.
Over 40 percent of the female cops who handle the women’s helpline receive abusive or obscene calls. The callers are not even deterred by the fact that they are speaking to policewomen.
Set up more than five years ago to protect the capital’s women from abuse and harassment, the helpline — 1091 — receives around 60 to 70 calls daily. At one time, there are four women constables handling the helpline in each eight-hour shift. A total of 12 women police work round the clock in three shifts.
Of the daily calls, over 40 percent consists of men being abusive to the female operators or indulging in lewd talk, Additional Commissioner of Police (Police Control Room) G.C. Dwivedi said .
“On a daily basis 21 percent of the calls they (women cops) get are regarding domestic violence, 17 percent calls are regarding eve teasing and 22 percent are related to cybercrimes involving women victims,” he said.
“However, around 40 percent of the calls daily are obscene and abusive,” said Dwivedi.
According to Dwivedi, there are two categories of callers who make the 40 percent frivolous calls.
“In the first category are the people who call just for entertainment. They register false complaints and use the pretext to trouble and abuse the female operators – just for a laugh. The second category is of those who indulge in obscene chats with the operators,” said Dwivedi.
A woman helpline operator, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS she has been working on the helpline desk for two years and receives such calls daily.
“Such callers do not care that they are talking to a Delhi Police officer. Only youngsters make such calls from phone booths so that they are not caught,” said one of the woman constables.
According to the woman constable, some people even call up from the landline number of friends or relatives against whom they have a grudge in order to get back at them because as they know the police will take action.
However, police get the culprits in the end.
If it is an offensive call, the number and address is forwarded to the Delhi Police anti-obscene and anti-stalking cell (1096) under the crime branch. This cell was launched in 2010.
The number and address of every caller is tracked by the ‘call tracker’, said another woman cop.
“As only women operators are deputed to manage the helpline some people take undue advantage of this,” said another senior police officer who did not want to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
“But it’s not easy to escape us. We get them at the end,” the official added.