Obscene callers plague women helpline number

The call attendants of Delhi government’s women-in-distress helpline 181 are receiving more than 100 obscene calls a day.

A senior official posted with the helpline said the frequency of obscene calls remained the same from the day of commissioning of the helpline.

“We get 2,000 calls daily, out of which 100 or more are obscene. These callers are unaware of the seriousness of the helpline,” she said.

According to officials, many people call 181 and try to do small talk with the female executives.

So far, only two obscene callers, who were repeated offenders, have been penalised. The duo was creating congestion in call traffic and making back-to-back calls.

On the low number of punishment given to crank callers, the official said, “The call attendants do not wish to pursue the cases. They simply refuse to talk with the obscene callers and disconnect the line. If we keep filing cases against every obscene caller, the helpline will be diverted from its aim.”

Nocturnal hazard

The frequency of obscene calls doubles at night.

“After 8-8.30 pm, a number of obscene calls are being received daily. The problem continues till late night,” she added.

Launched on the heels of the December 16, 2012 gang-rape of a paramedic student in Delhi, the helpline has received 7,87,571 calls from December 31, 2012 to March 2014.
The helpline employees have answered 5,34,008 calls so far while 2,53,563 calls were abandoned.

At least 62,721 cases have been registered till March this year and 1,01,501 cases were referred to the departments concerned.

Officials are also considering shifting the helpline from the chief minister’s office to the Women and Child Development Department.

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