The Punjab Police Saturday set up a toll-free helpline number – 181 – to deal with the complaints lodged by Kashmiris, days after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh assured full support for students from the Valley in Punjab.
The helpline will have a special desk, which will ensure prompt and effective response for Kashmiris facing any kind of harassment, trouble or intimidation , according to an official statement. The initiative comes amid reports of persecution of Kashmiri students and traders in different parts of the country following the terror attack in Pulwama that left at least 40 CRPF personnel dead on February 14. Amarinder had announced within hours of the attack that his government would ensure full safety and security of Kashmiris in the state and would not allow them to be harassed in any way.
“Kashmiris are as much a part of India as Kashmir is and abusing or harassing them for the act of ISI-backed terrorists is not only unconstitutional but also inhuman,” the chief minister said in the release.
As per the statement, the Kashmiris can call on 181 or send an SMS or WhatsApp message on 76961-81181 regarding the problem they are facing. They can also fax their complaint on 0172-6626181 and e-mail it to “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”.
The Punjab Police has designated Surjeet Singh, DIG (Law & Order), as the nodal officer for managing the response and redressal of the complaints or grievances, which “will be attended to immediately and responded without delay”. According to a Punjab Police notification, the DIG “will oversee all issues/grievances pertaining to people/students of J&K living in the jurisdiction of State of Punjab”.
“Any such person/student belonging to J&K in distress can approach the nodal officer on his mobile number 94645-00004 or office number 0172-2747767 at Punjab Police Headquarters, Sector-9, Chandigarh,” it says.
The statement added that the Chief Minister has directed the police department to ensure that all complaints and grievances shared by the Kashmiris in Punjab are promptly redressed. No laxity would be tolerated in this regard, he has made it clear.
On Friday, the Centre had asked all states to ensure security of people belonging to Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court had also directed that the nodal officers appointed by the states/UTs would take necessary steps to prevent acts of violence, discrimination and other coercive acts against Kashmiris (including students enrolled with the institutions in the respondent states and the Union Territories) and other minorities.