Text for help: Rakesh Maria launches new SMS service for women in distress

Mar 09, 2014, 07:40 IST | Sagar Rajput

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria says text messaging will help the police trace the offending vehicle. Also promises to bar taxi and auto drivers from six railway stations

Top cop Rakesh Maria lived up to his promise of making women’s safety his top priority when he chose International Women’s Day to announce the launch of a special SMS service that will help the police rush to the rescue of women in distress.

Mumbai’s police chief, Rakesh Maria, said the helpline has been launched in the wake of the Esther Anuhya incident

A woman travelling alone on any public transport in Mumbai can now send a text message on 9969777888, mentioning the number plate, the registration number or the route number of the vehicle she is travelling in — if she wants the cops to intervene immediately.

Speaking to reporters Mumbai’s commissioner of police, Rakesh Maria said, “We have launched this in the wake of the Esther Anuhya incident, where we could not initially confirm whether she had arrived at the station and what mode of transport she had travelled in. Now, if any woman feels that she might be harmed by a taxi or auto driver then she can message the mode of transport and the vehicle’s number, which will enable us to trace the vehicle.”

According to Maria, the decision was taken by the city police and the state home department officials with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) roped in as the network partner. “After we get a message, we will be able to access the name of the user, her current location, her alternate number and her residential address along with the owner of the suspicious vehicle, and all its records. We have also asked the RTO authorities to ensure that all public vehicles are told to display their numbers on the dash board, so that one can note down the numbers easily,” he said.

Drivers barred from railway premises
Maria added that his force and the railway police will make sure that taxi, auto drivers don’t enter major railway stations. “We are planning to install two desks on both the ends of the station, to prevent drivers from entering the Mumbai CST, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Kurla and Borivili stations,” he added.

>> Women feeling unsafe in cab or auto should SMS the vehicle number
>> The new emergency number is 9969777888
>> RTOs told to ensure all vehicles display the number on their dashboard

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