Assam CM launches toll-free helpline number for women

Guwahati (Assam) [India], Mar. 30 : In the wake of increasing crimes against women, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched '181-Sakhi', a toll-free helpline number for women. Addressing the gathering at the Chief Minister's office at Janata Bhawan here on Thursday, Sonowal expressed serious concern over the recent spur of crimes against women in the state and assured that the State government is taking series of measures to take stringent action against the perpetrators of such crimes. "Superintendents of Police (SPs) of all the districts have been asked to ensure swift and correct filing of charge sheet in all crimes against women so that justice can be given to the victims. Our government has also written to the Guwahati High Court to set up a fast track court to deal with crimes against women on a day-to-day basis" he said. Alongside the launch, the Chief Minister urged women to make the best use of the 181-Sakhi helpline, and directed government stakeholders to ensure immediate response to the calls of women in distress. Meanwhile, Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay noted that women can use the helpline for any kind of assistance, and not just in the event of a threat to their safety. "What we have launched is a tech-enabled human response system, which follows instructions depending on what is fed to it by the caller. Women can use this helpline for any kind of assistance, including a medical emergency, an urgent need for family counseling or if they require assistance from the police. This step is towards ensuring that women in the state are safe," he said. The 181-Sakhi toll-free women helpline is a scheme of universalisation of women helpline launched under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. This service intends to provide 24-hour immediate and emergency response to women affected by violence. The service is presently being launched for one shift and will be open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. However, it will be made available 24x7 shortly. The service is integrated with women police stations, state commission for women, family counseling centers, NGOs, legal service centers, shelter homes, medical and legal experts. In the recent past, there has been a recent surge in crimes against women in Assam. Last week, a five-year-old girl died after she was allegedly gang-raped and then set ablaze by five persons at her home in Nagaon's Bordua area, which sparked outrage regarding the situation of women's safety in the state.
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