Most mobile phones have it saved as ‘emergency’. But when needed most, 100 — the first call for help — was of no use to Neelam Singh, a model and actor who was badly assaulted in an autorickshaw early on Saturday morning.
Singh was throttled, slapped and beaten but when she called the police control room on 100 for help after she barely managed to escape, she was allegedly turned away.
“I was shocked when they asked me to approach a nearby police station. I was stranded near Bhayander and horribly bruised. How could I have possibly made my way to the police station,” said Neelam Singh, an Andheri resident.
Neelam had boarded the auto from outside Lokmanya Tilak Terminus after returning from Jhansi at 4am on Saturday. She wanted to go to Andheri, but the auto driver accompanied by an aide took her to Ghodbunder road in Thane. The aide assaulted her, before she jumped off the auto near Mira Road-Bhayander area. Local fishermen spotted her and took her to Bhayander railway station. She then boarded a local train to Andheri and approached the DN Nagar police. They, however, told her to approach the Tilak Nagar police.
“Again I called the police control. This time, a policewoman answered. I narrated my ordeal and she said that I should have called the control immediately after the incident and not a few hours later. I was aghast. I asked her what would she have done in my situation,” said Singh.
Sanjay Shintre, deputy commissioner of police who is also in charge of the police control room, said, “I am extremely disappointed in our control room personnel if the allegations are true. They should have ideally directed the nearby policemen immediately to help the girl. I will set up an inquiry into the matter.”
Singh, a native of Lucknow, came to the city two-and-a half-years ago to make her career in the film industry. She now feels unsafe in Mumbai. “The control room is supposed to be an emergency help line. If the police call themselves the custodians of our safety, they have to start behaving that way,” added Singh.