Mumbai Police Launch “Travel Safe While Alone” Service
Listen up, Mumbai ladies, and store the following number in your cell phones: 9969777888.
Thanks to a new initiative by the Mumbai Police, if you feel unsafe in an auto or taxi, you may SMS the vehicle’s registration number (found on the front, side or back or your auto, or on the back of your taxi) to the helpline, and the police will send you an acknowledgment call and be able to track your location.
This initiative was prompted by the murder of Esther Anuhya (although, interestingly, Anuhya’s case involved neither an auto nor a taxi, but an impostor posing as a taxi driver, with a motorbike). We hope this tracking technology will help police intersect the vehicle en route – and not just serve as a post-crime investigation mechanism for the police.
Police commissioner Rakesh Maria has also established 18-25 women police officers at every police station, and the government has approved 3.66 crore INR for improving facilities for policewomen. With more equitable representation in the police force, we’re optimistic for more alert and sensitive handling of cases.
While we’ll continue to enjoy conversing with our friendly rickshaw- and taxi-wallahs on our daily commutes, it’s good to know that some recourse exists just in case, in a particular ride, we don’t feel quite as safe.