Women helpline control room in Bhopal.
The helpline incharge and inspector RS Chauhan said the helpline was receiving more complaints from rural areas as women and girls in rural areas avoid visiting a police station, adding that women were also unaware of the working of the helpline. Mostly complaints regarding harassment, dowry demand and domestic violence are made through the helpline.
On March 8, a woman of Kundipura village, Chhindwara district, called 1090 to save a minor hearing and speech impaired girl who was being harassed.
Police personnel said compared to visiting the police station, located 25km away from her village, it was easy for her to call the helpline number. The woman told the helpline’s officers that a 14-year-old hearing and speech impaired girl was being sexually harassed by a clerk of her school for the last several days.
Officers of the women helpline informed the respective police station and the police arrested the accused.
Inspector Chauhan said the 1090 helpline was receiving a number of complaints from different parts of Madhya Pradesh.
He said they were facing a lot of problem in solving the complaints because people did not know the working of the helpline. “People feel that there are teams of the women helpline that are present all over the state. Generally, women of rural areas avoid interacting with police and think action will be taken by the team immediately by not involving the police. They don’t know that after receiving a call, we inform the respective police station and the police takes action against the accused. We try to solve the problem as fast as we can but we have to follow a process too,” the helpline incharge said.
He added that there was a need to spread awareness about the working of the women helpline too.