Fresh on the heels of the arrest of the prime accused in the murder of the 23-year-old software engineer, the Mumbai Police Saturday launched an initiative to ensure the safety of women, traveling in auto-rickshwas and taxis. Launched by Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria at the Azad Maidan Police Club on International Women’s Day, the SMS-based service has been created with the state home ministry and public telecom service provider, MTNL.
“I am happy to bring about this new aid to Mumbai Police that has pledged to ensure women’s security to the fullest,” said Maria.
Women commuters will have to send an SMS containing the registration number of the vehicle they are traveling in, after which they will receive an acknowledgment of their message, Maria said.
The police and the RTO will display the helpline number – 9969777888 – on the dashboards of taxis and auto-rickshaws. “While investigating the murder of the 23-year-old techie, one was not able to ascertain the registration number of the vehicle and the mode of transport she took. In this MTNL initiative, the lady will be required to send an SMS, giving the number of the vehicle, and an acknowledgment SMS will be sent back to her. There is capacity to store one crore SMSs for one year. We will be able to track the location from where the SMS was sent and where it was received,” said Maria.
The police also launched a booklet titled ‘Get Empowered. Fight Crime. Be safe’, which details several crimes committed against women with information on punishment, legal provisions and procedures to be followed during trial.
The 26-page booklet has been put together by activists, NGOs, former Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar, IPS officers Brijesh Singh and Vishwas Nangre-Patil. Around 5,000 copies, printed in English and Marathi, will be rolled out in the first phase and distributed across police stations.