The police control room in Delhi received at least two distress calls every minute in the last eight days, all related to chaos at banks and ATMs following the government’s shock decision to scrap high-value banknotes.
Between November 9 and 16, the police control room received around 21,600 distress calls made by people waiting outside banks and ATMs to withdraw cash or exchange banned currency.
Many were also made by bank officials seeking security during periods when hundreds of people waiting outside showed signs of turning violent.
“There was chaos and most people had fear of losing their money. In the first few days, many also accused bank officers of not giving money,” a police official said. He, however, added the number of distress calls was going down.
Most of the calls were related to complaints of chaos, people demanding security, squabbles with officers and quarrels outside banks and ATMs, officials said. Some were made by bank officials seeking security.
Most of the calls were during the day when banks were struggling to cope with the huge rush of people, officials added.
Despite thousands of panicked people queuing up in front of ATMs late into the night, there was only one incident of violence in north Delhi’s Subzi Mandi.
An analysis of police data show a spike in calls last Saturday when around 5,600 calls -- the highest so far -- was received at the control room. The number of calls have come down to just under 3,000 on November 16.
The data show that at least 220 calls were made within a span of around four hours immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the shock announcement on November 8.
On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung instructed police to provide more security outside banks and ATMs to deal with the rush of people.
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