WhatsApp for women attracts smut

Porn posted via apps meant for distress calls, police will go after culprits

Social networking groups meant to alert Delhi Police about any danger of violence against women are plagued by people sending vulgar videos and pictures. The police have now warned they will book the culprits.

Ever since the police launched groups called ‘Himmat’ on WhatsApp and Hike on February 25, thousands of messages have been received by the police.

These, however, included dozens of porn clippings and other obscene messages.
Senior police officers said they are compiling a list of all phone numbers from which the vulgar messages have come.

“We will identify those individuals based on their phone numbers and prosecute each one of them,” said a senior police officer.

It, however, is yet to be seen how police would go about actually prosecuting such a large number of persons.

Similar problems have been faced by the Vigilance Department of police whose WhatsApp helpline number 99106410649910641064 received several  vulgar messages. Though one man was arrested in this connection, it failed to deter mischief mongers.

Police said they have so far found around 11,000 messages received by  ‘Himmat’ groups worth responding to.

The social networking groups were launched on the phone number 88000010918800001091
to boost women’s confidence while travelling on public transport and to deter rogue driver.

On the groups, women are encouraged to send the photographs of the registration number plates of autorickshaws and cabs before they board so that police have a record.

Earlier this year, the Delhi Police had also launched a Himmat mobile app through which women could send an SOS alert to the police control room as soon as they sensed danger. A police team is supposed to immediately check on that woman’s safety.

Since its launch on the New Year’s Day, police have received a little over 2,000 alerts.

Test alerts

“Since the service is new, most of the alerts were sent to test the application. Whatever be the cause of sounding an alert, the police call back the woman on the other end to check if they require any help,” said police.

Police Control Room vans and the local police have had to intervene on 45 occasions so far.  While most of the genuine calls were related to domestic abuse or stalking, Delhiites have also been using the application to report crimes such as people gone missing.

Police said such callers are guided about the right process of filing those complaints.
Calls are also being received from outside Delhi.

Of the 2,000 alerts so far, about 600 were from regions apart from Delhi and NCR. Eight alerts were received from foreign countries, said police.

So far, the application was available only for Android phone users.

However, it was made available even to Apple users from Thursday, and Windows could follow.

Till last year, there were four platforms for the city’s women to lodge complaints of harassment.

Apart from the police number 100, there were the anti-obscene helpline 1096, the women helpline 1091 and the Chief Minister’s helpline 181. Of these, the 1096 was found to be the most popular last year.

Out of a total of 72,930 calls received by these helpline numbers last year, over 70 per cent were made to 1096.

However, the ‘Himmat’ groups are quickly catching up in popularity, stats suggest.CallSend SMSAdd to SkypeYou'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

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