FACT CHECK: Truth behind the viral Nirbhaya Helpline number for women in distress

Posted on 2019-11-30 13:51:48 by Anubha Pandey

Summary

In our investigation, we found out that the phone number widely shared on social media as the ‘Nirbhaya helpline’, was launched in 2015 by Railway police and was limited to Mumbai and is no longer operational. 

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A post on social media platforms surfaced with a claim that 'Women can send blank messages or can give a miss call on the given number in an emergency situation, following with the police will find their location and will help them".

A Facebook user named Kavitha sindhuri janasena shared this post which reads, "9833312222 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 a missed call..so that police will find your location and help u "

 Many other people on Facebook also shared this post in the wake of a recent rape and murder case in Hyderabad.

The same post was widely shared on Twitter in 2018.

The truth behind the claim 

In our investigation, we found out that the number which has been circulated on social media- 9833312222, was launched in 2015 by Government Railway Police (GRP). The helpline number could be used by railway commuters to send messages, pictures or videos related to the issue of women’s safety, via WhatsApp, but only in Mumbai.

However,  that number shared in the post is not functional anymore.

It may be noted that soon after the Nirbhaya case in Delhi in 2012, three-digit toll-free number – 181 which was launched in January 2013, in the capital Following this, several states have now set up this number (181) as a women’s helpline. Another number exclusively for women in an emergency situation is 1091, which has been adopted by many states across the country.  

In conclusion, the phone number widely shared on social media as the ‘Nirbhaya helpline’, was launched in 2015 by Railway police and was limited to Mumbai and is no longer operational. 



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