The Social Service Branch (SSB) has launched a drive to popularise 103 —the toll free helpline for women. Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) BG Shekhar told HT that more than 1,000 posters displaying the helpline number have been circulated to all 93 police stations in the city.
“The poster has the number 103 in a large font, below which is an appeal to women to call the helpline,” Shekhar added. He said police stations have been asked to put up the posters at important public places such as bus stands, malls, theatres and markets.
The poster also has the toll free number 1098, of NGO Akshara, that has tied up with the Mumbai police to help in this drive. “The collaboration would help us rehabilitate distressed women, which is usually not the job of the police,” Shekhar said.
Shekhar said that in the second phase the posters would also have the telephone number of women constables and officers of police stations in their respective jurisdiction so that the victim can avail additional assistance (apart from 103).
Shekhar said the control room where the helpline calls are received are operational round-the-clock. On receiving the call, the operator either guides the victim to contact the nearest police station or alerts the police station so that they can help the victim.
Following a Supreme Court direction to police across the country to maintain the women’s helpline, actor Pooja Bhatt had a harrowing experience when she sought help from the Mumbai police emergency number 100. However, she received prompt response after she called on the 103 women’s helpline.
Following an HT report on the actor’s experience, Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police, (law and order), initiated disciplinary action against the operator. The lady constable at the 103 helpline was rewarded.