Around 10.45 pm on Sunday, a 30-year-old Chandigarh man called the helpline number of Save Indian Family (SIF), an NGO that works for men’s rights in India, alleging that his wife was assaulting him and had also summoned the police over a false complaint. He informed the helpline counselor that for the first time in their six-year-old, his 28-year-old wife was assaulting him and forcing him to let her go to her parent’s house in Lucknow– and as he disagreed, she called the police over a false complaint. The caller was counselled by the SIF helpline counselors, asked to cooperate with the police and attend a personal meeting session with their expert after lockdown ends. The NGO, SIF, was founded in 2008 and registered as a Trust in 2016.
As many as 1,774 men from 22 states across India have reached out to SIF on its nine helpline extentions in April till now, alleging domestic violence by their spouse. The Trustees of the NGO, however, say that the average number of calls attended during the lockdown have reduced by 40 per cent, compared to the months before the lockdown was imposed.
One of the Trustee of the NGO, Maninder Singh said, “Several men who have approached us on our helpline numbers, have said that they are victimised by their wives and are unable to contact during the day because being threatened. Thus, there is a dip in the number of calls. At least 95 per cent of the calls are received around 10 pm, which was rare earlier, prior to the lockdown.”
Sharing a compiled data of the calls received on its nine extensions, Singh told The Indian Express that from April 1, most number of calls are being received on the extension of Uttar Pradesh-Bihar-Jharkhand-Uttrakhand. As many as 356 men have called from these four states in the last 26 days, while on an average 597 calls are received from the four states in a month.
As per the data shared by Singh, in April till now, the Karnataka helpline has received 58 calls, the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh extension has received 88 calls, nine calls were received in Tamil Nadu, 313 calls were received by the extensions of Delhi-Haryana-Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir, 24 by Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, 46 by West Bengal-Orissa and North East collectively, 185 by Maharasthra and Gujrat extension, 110 by Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh extension, 356 calls were received on Uttar Pradesh-Bihar-Jharkhand-Uttrakhand extension and eight calls were received by the Kerala extension. Meanwhile, 577 callers did not opt for any extension.
The data also revealed that on an average the NGO helpline receives 113 calls every day. However, the number of calls have reduced to 68 every day since the lockdown was imposed.
The NGO provides counselling, legal remedies and legal aid free of cost to the victims.