Delhi Starts 24-Hour Helpline To Protect Inter-Faith Couples

The Delhi government issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the protection of inter-faith and inter-caste couples from harassment and threat by setting up special cells and 24-hour helpline numbers to address their grievances and provide assistance and protection to the couples.

“The Supreme Court in its judgment in a case titled Shakti Vahini Vs UOI had directed the state to create Special cells in every district comprising of the Superintendent of police, the District Social Welfare officers and District AdiDaridar welfare officer to receive petitions/complaints of harassment and threat to couples of inter-caste/interfaith marriages. These special cells shall create a 24-hour helpline to receive and register such complaints and to provide necessary assistance/advice and protection to the couple,” read the notification by the Delhi government.

“Such safe house shall cater to accommodate (i) young bachelor/ bachelorette couples whose relationship is being opposed by their families/local community/Khaps and (ii) young married couples (of an inter-caste or inter-religious or any other marriages being opposed by their families local community/Khaps. Such safe house may be placed under the supervision of the jurisdictional District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police,” it said.

181 toll-free women helpline, which is widely circulated and popular number among the common public shall also serve as 24 hrs Helpline for the special cells to receive and register such complaints from inter-caste/interfaith married couples and to provide necessary assistance/advice and protection to the couple.

On February 24, a Gujarat-based interfaith couple took shelter in Delhi as the national capital implemented the directions of the Supreme Court in the ‘Shakti Vahini versus UOI’ case that relates to providing shelter house to interfaith and inter-caste couples.

In September 2020, the Delhi government submitted before the Delhi High Court that 15 special cells will be set up in every police district to deal with the threat to inter-caste marriage couples.

The Home Department of the Government of NCT of Delhi, in a status report, submitted that it has issued an order dated August 28 constituting 15 committees of officers as District Special Cells, co-terminus with Police Districts in Delhi. (ANI)

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