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Madurai police starts helpline to protect those marrying outside caste, religion

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-08-2017 Staff Writer

New Delhi: To protect those who marry outside their caste or religion, Madurai police has launched a helpline. The idea is to keep the police in the loop as and when a couple fears family retribution.

The launch of the helpline comes about a month after Mahesh Kumar Agarwal, a 1994-batch Indian Police Service officer, took over as Commissioner of Police in Madurai. Agarwal last month warned of tougher action against criminals and assured people that he would make the city police more public-friendly.

The helpline follows a judgment by Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Madras High Court, in a 13 April 2016 order in a case related to honour killing, as reported by Deccan Chronicle. The judge had directed the state government to create special cells in every district to deal with complaints from “couples expressing fear of physical annihilation” by parents, relatives and khap panchayats.

“There is no specific reason why we launched the helpline now. Every single case is important for us. You don’t need to have thousands of cases to act upon a crime. This step was long pending. We will have an entire system in place. Whenever we receive a call, there will be people taking down the details, and immediately, informing the officer who they will report this to. There will then be an immediate follow up. We will ensure the helpline is doing what its aim is,” said Agarwal.

This toll-free number will operate 24x7. “This helpline will systematically be launched in other parts of the state as well,” said additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP) Madurai U. Murugesh.

There were 47 reported cases of honour killing between 2010 and 2015 in Tamil Nadu, court papers show. India registered 251 honour killings in 2015 as against 28 in 2014, the government said in Parliament last December. Such killings are reported under two sections—murder that falls under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder that falls under Section 304.

Even though a helpline doesn’t ensure crimes don’t happen, Madurai has taken the first step.

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