Days after the gruesome rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, a message is being circulating on social media alerting women about a helpline number that has been set up to help them in case of emergency.
The message reads, “Send this Nirbhaya number to your wife, daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, and all the ladies you know..ask them to save it.. all the men please share with all the ladies you know.... In case of emergency. Ladies can send blank msg or can give missed call..so that police will find your location and help u.(sic)”
The message comes along with the following number: +91 98333 12222.
The Quint received multiple messages about this message on its WhatsApp helpline.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The message is misleading for of two reasons.
- This number was launched in 2015 by the Mumbai Railway Police for the safety female commuters. Speaking to Mirror Now in 2015, then Railway Police Commissioner, Ravinder Singal said, “The idea of this helpline is to be proactive and allow women commuters to come forward to complain if they come across anything inappropriate.”
- This number was officially closed in 2018.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We tried calling on the number mentioned in the viral message but were met with a message that said the number doesn’t exist. We then tried looking online for the number and came across an article published in Mirror Now in 2015 which stated that the helpline number wasn’t a pan-India number, but was launched for the safety of female commuters by Mumbai Railway Police.
We then tried looking up if the number was still functional. We came across a webpage ‘Mumbairlypolice.gov.in’ which could not be found, but read the message that the helpline number was officially closed on 1 February 2018.
Upon clicking the link, we were directed to the archived version of this website which originally hosted the message.
Therefore, an old helpline number is being circulated online in light of a gruesome rape and murder case in Hyderabad – do not call it, it became defunct in 2018.
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