Emergency no. busy, neighbours walk to station to file complaint
Neelam Singh’s experience is not the first time that the apathy of police personnel in the control room has come to the fore.
Neighbours of Sebatina Fernandes, a 56-year-old woman who was recently found murdered at her doorstep in Versova, said that they were greeted with hostility by the personnel police control room.
“Immediately after we found aunt Sebatina’s body outside her apartment, one of our building residents called the police control room. He could not get through for at least 20 minutes. It was constantly busy,” said Ranjeet Singh, 30, who stays at Mangela Sarvodaya Cooperative Housing Society at Juhu-Versova Link road, where Sebatina lived with her husband Victor.
Sebatina was found in a pool of blood outside her seventh floor apartment on November 21. The accused had fled with 5.5 tolas of gold jewellery she was wearing – a chain, earrings, a ring and a bangle – worth Rs1.7 lakh. The police then arrested three persons, including the garbage collector, building watchman and their accomplice.
“An elderly woman has been found dead. Everyone is panicking. The first thing you think of is to call the police emergency number. But no matter how many times we tried, we cannot get through the number. The only message this conveys is that it is very foolish to depend on the police if you are in real need,” said Singh.
Singh said that they then rushed Sebatina to a nearby hospital where she was declared dead and then walked to the Versova police station to inform them of the incident. “Was there any other option?” he curtly asked.