- The 24-hour women’s emergency helpline in Bangalore faced technical glitches.
Police officers in Bangalore are having trouble getting a helpline for women up and running, much like their counterparts in New Delhi.
The helpline is part of efforts to ensure women’s safety in the city, a southern information technology hub, after the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last month.
The 24-hour emergency helpline was launched in Bangalore last week to ensure that women’s complaints of rape and other sexual crimes are not ignored by police.
If you call 1091, the helpline number, from a mobile phone, the call is directed to a helpline that was created for children in distress. The helpline, which is connected to mobile patrol vehicles linked to around 150 police stations across the city, can only be reached from a fixed-line telephone connection for now.
“We are experiencing some technical glitches,” Sunil Kumar, additional commissioner of police for law and order in Bangalore, told India Real Time. A similar helpline in New Delhi also has faced technical snafus.
Shaibya Saldanha, founder of Enfold Proactive Health Trust, a non-profit organization that works on ensuring child safety, says a 24-hour helpline for women is essential as most of the crimes in Bangalore occur in the night.
Bangalore authorities also last week came up with guidelines of what women can do to stay safe.
The guidelines included drawing window curtains to prevent strangers from peeping into your homes, not responding to anonymous phone calls, avoiding going to isolated places with male friends and steering clear of roads that are not well lit.
R. Ashoka, deputy chief minister of the government in Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the state capital, denied the guidelines put an onus on women to change their behavior, as some critics of the latest moves have suggested.
“Even men are being asked to follow certain instructions,” Mr. Ashoka said, pointing to the guidelines issued to the employees of the state transport corporation. These guidelines include ensuring reserved seats for woman in public transport and avoiding male co-passengers sharing a seat with a woman.
The government also has promised strict action against police officers who refuse to register cases against sexual assault, speedy justice in all cases of atrocities against women and intensive patrolling of the city and its outskirts. But it has yet to address in detail how it will tackle broader issues like police reforms, including police training.