Ahmedabad police fools women with fake helpline number

The helpline announced by DCB-A’bad for complaints about crimes against women is a big joke

Amdavadi bens, while thanking your lady luck for keeping you safe in the city, we advise you to also carry a can of pepper spray just in case. Why? Well, chances are your distress calls will fetch you a pen and paper faster than the cops as you would desire. For, the much-touted ‘helpline’ service of Ahmedabad city police, will only make you end up talking to an angry shopkeeper instead of police officials.

To prevent the crimes on women living in the city, Detection of Crime Branch (DCB)- Ahmedabad launched a unique helpline service one year back and allotted a special number, 1091, which can be dialed by women troubled by eve-teasing, sexual harassment or any other kind of violence for immediate police help. This number is very much like the 100 or 101 emergency numbers. However, it turns out it is a major joke in the name of protection. DNA tried to verify the promptness of 1091, but was shocked when our call was answered by an irate shopkeeper. Our repeated attempts only landed up at the Relief Stationary shop near General Post Office at Ghee Kanta, instead of the police!

When we approached the shopkeeper, he listed his woes and stated that he is fed up of picking up on an average 15 calls from women on any day. That means that cops are failing to respond to such 15-odd calls of women who are being deprived from timely help which they are supposed to get.Stating that he has already registered his complaint with BSNL officials, the shopkeeper lamented that all his pleas have fallen in deaf ears.

“For the past 4 months, I suddenly started getting calls from women, all wanting to talk to the police. I apprised the BSNL officials about the problem several times, but nothing has changed. I am fed up of receiving these calls,” the angry shopkeeper shouted, however, asking us not to reveal his identity, almost in the same breath.

The shock didn’t end there. We were amazed to learn that no official of control room or women cell of DCB are aware of the serious goof up.

When asked about the 1091 service, a woman police inspector of DCB happily described how the service works. “We have two Quick Response Teams comprising one female PSI, one female constable and one male constable in the QRT van. These vans will reach the spot after receiving a call from a woman who dials 1091,” she said, seemingly absolutely ignorant about the fact that 1091 is not working, as it was designed to. DNA tried from both mobile and landline numbers.

asked the same question to Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP) – DCB, AK Sharma, who too described the service as a great help for women in trouble. However, Sharma too seemed totally clueless about the goof up with 1091.

“I don’t have any knowledge about its non-functioning. I have to check it for myself. I will revert after checking it” said Sharma after DNA updated him about the problem. After checking the service, he too was surprised. “It’s true, the number isn’t reaching us. But, it is a problem with mobiles only. If you dial from landline, calls will reach us” he said. DNA dialed 1091 once again from a landline, only to hear the poor shopkeeper lambast us for harassing him again!