Telangana wants Delhi-like helpline

The women helpline team of Delhi government is offering advice to the Telangana government on setting up their own helpline to check incidents of domestic violence and other crimes against women. 

The 181 helpline in the city is run by an independent private agency and is headed by Khadija Faruqui, who recently held discussions with Telangana officials in Hyderabad.

“We gave a presentation to the officials and they were quite impressed with the Delhi model,” she said.

Poonam Malakondaiah, Telangana’s principal secretary to government, agriculture and co-operation department, was the nodal officer who interacted with Faruqui.

“The Telangana women’s helpline will also be 181,” said Faruqui, who gave a presentation on the operational logistics related to the Delhi’s helpline.

She said Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has set up a seven-member women safety committee, comprising of women bureaucrats, which studied the Delhi helpline model.

 “No deadline or target as such has been set by the Telangana government on the helpline. Our aim was to brief them about the need to build capacity before launching the helpline,” said Faruqui.

The Delhi helpline head, who earlier handled a similar service for the women run by an NGO, said she suggested to officials of the new state that ideally a women helpline should be run by an independent agency, preferably an NGO.

Faruqui also interacted with activists of NGO My Choices which is active in Telangana and works in the field of domestic violence. My Choices has been in discussions with the Telangana government over the need to start a women’s helpline.

Chief of My Choices, Archana Brian, told Deccan Herald that crime data of undivided Andhra Pradesh shows that the state was among the list of top three states where maximum number of crimes against women are reported.

“Faruqui was invited to give a presentation as starting a women’s helpline tops the 10-point agenda set by the Telangana women safety committee,” said Brian.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2012 Andhra Pradesh topped the list of dowry cases with 2,511 incidents. The undivided state reported 2,150 cases of domestic violence in 2012 – the third highest in the country.  

The NCRB’s data for 2013, shows that  Andhra Pradesh with 7.3 per cent share of the county’s women population, has accounted for 10.6 per cent of the total crimes committed against women at all India level with 32,809 reported cases of crimes against women. 

The Delhi women’s helpline was started in December 2012 after a physiotherapy intern’s gang-rape in a moving bus that sparked public outrage.

 In the last twoyears, the 21-member helpline team whose operations are funded by the state government, has received over six lakh calls.

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