Shreya Rastogi/khabar India Network – Lucknow:“I am scared I don’t know who is doing all this to me, I am not able to share all this with anyone. I am not able to trust anyone. Whenever my phone rings up I get frightened. My confidence is going down with every passing day. Maybe I am paying the price of being a woman. Please don’t tell it to my parents they will be very angry, my future studies will come in danger”. This was the testimony of one of the many faceless voices who almost on a daily basis face the humiliation from unknown miscreants.
Often people point out the ‘laziness of police’ in every other criminal activity, but this scenario is changing now because of the initiative took by UP police. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gifted this power for the welfare and wellbeing to the women’s of Uttar Pradesh. The initiative which has been taken by UP police is called Women Power Helpline 1090 ‘a one-state-one-number’ which indicates that slowly the system is responding to the concern of women’s safety.
From 15th November 2012 to 28th February2014 more than 1,79,000 cases were recorded in surveillance out of which 1,64,848 cases were fully solved, said the in-charge of WPL Raghuvendra Pratap Singh. Further he said the main reason of getting the success in short span of time is ‘pressure building’ on criminals. He added “a woman should not hesitate to raise their voices against any crime. They should be bold enough to deal with such situations, which may lead to prevent many crimes. Most importantly people should and have to change their minds.”
He also said that he focuses on the nerves of the criminal to know what is the reason behind such crimes. The most shocking answer he got was “bhaiya meri umar 65 saal hai, mai ek chowkidaar hu, meri biwi marr chuki hai isiliye mujhe ladkio se baat karne aur unhe pareshan karne mai maza aata hai.”
He further elaborates, a statewide study conducted by them prior to launch of the service revealed that between 2000 and 2012 there was a sharp rise in the use of mobiles to harass women. The victims caught in such situations were usually helpless. They were unable to confide to their family members because of the fear of being confined at home. It had repercussions on their freedom and access to education or work. The 1090 number has changed all that. When women call, complete confidentiality is maintained. The service has been developed in such a way that only the women constable who receives the call knows the name and number of the caller. Even the in-charge of WPL has no access to their details. This has instilled a high level of confidence and trust among women callers.
Navnit Sekera, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police, Lucknow Range, who is the brain behind the effort, says that “during the starting of this project we received 76 complaints of women’s who were being harassed, from which 5 cases were of severe harassments. These cases were learning experience for us. This foundation is based on the experience of these cases.”
There are 30 young women and 30 young men constable in all who work in 6 hours shifts every day. They are just not friends but are guides to the victims who also perform the task of counseling the abusive callers. Replying to the question about how she supports the harassed women callers, women constable Uma jaiswal said, “Victims are very disturbed, they cry helplessly. Not only the young girls are disturbed but also married women are disturbed by the abusive callers. They just want the quick relief from this humiliating farce.” “I want the same sort of trauma and humiliation for the perpetrator who made me suffer” said the victim to Sudha Yadav, another woman constable.
Raghuvendra Singh further answered, “The calls are recorded, therefore it is easy to file the arrest, we don’t do any sort of favoritism to any person no matter how strong he his or has any relation in politics. Our first priority is solving the problem of women.” He also told the plan to enhance WPL by introducing “POWER ANGEL” which is soon going to be launched. In this plan about 50,000 school going girls will be given the power to be called as ‘power angels’ who will be solving the problem of girls close to them. This plan will help to find out the root problem of why women are trapped in such harassments. The girls will be selected by the professionals and will be given training of two months. This is the first ever scheme which will be launched in India. We believe that this idea will surely benefit the women to stay strong against the crime, as the 1090 slogan itself says “dare nahi, dabe nahi.”