Phone numbers of girls are up for sale at mobile phone recharge stores across Uttar Pradesh. Hindustan Times on Friday reported these shops are charging between Rs 50 and Rs 500 “depending on the girl’s looks” to give out phone numbers to men, who then stalk these girls for ”friendship”, “harmless fun” and even indulge in obscene talks.
Uttar Pradesh Police were able to identify the thriving practice after receiving several complaints of such unsolicited phone calls on the round-the-clock women helpline number 1090. The report states that over 90 per cent of almost 6 lakh complaints — registered with the helpline in the past four years — were related to harassment of women on the phone. Police also claimed that the shopkeepers used fake documents to procure fresh SIM cards for these harassers.
A 24-year-old Shahjahanpur youth told HT that he considered this as “having some harmless fun”. “Sometimes we send vulgar pictures over WhatsApp,” he admitted.
Police claim there cannot be any case against those buying or selling women’s numbers in the state. They charge the shop-owners who use fake identity proofs to register SIM cards. Apart from this, the police also issue warning to the harassers who reportedly belong from different classes of society.