HYDERABAD: A WhatsApp forward is being circulated with a claim that the Telangana police have introduced a 'women safety helpline number'.
The message asks women to share their vehicle number on a mobile number (+919969777888) and that this will help the city police track their location in order to maintain safety.
"Hyderabad city police started a good service with a dedicated helpline for women, before boarding the taxi or auto, SMS the vehicle number to +919969777888. You will get an acknowledgment via SMS. The vehicle will be tracked via GPRS. Share with as many as you can…Help your sister, mom, your wife and female friends… (Sic)," the message reads.
NewsMeter found that the news is fake. No such number has been publicized by the Telangana city police.
We searched online and found a tweet by the Hyderabad City Police that clarified the issue. The tweet states that the news is fake.
We also found that the same message was also circulating with the false claim that the same initiative was taken by the Bangalore police. The Twitter account of Bangalore police also put out a tweet stating that the news is fake.Press Information Bureau also put out a tweet in December 2020 in relation to the Bangalore fake news and stated that this was a Mumbai specific service only which has been discontinued since 2017.
Women across TS can report security-related grievances on a WhatsApp helpline number (9441669988) launched by the SHE Team of Telangana police. The Telangana government has also launched a women helpline number "181" at the Secretariat for women to lodge complaints related to domestic violence, sexual harassment, dowry cases, eve-teasing in public/workplaces etc.
Evidently, it is clear that sending an SMS to the number will not enable police to track your location.
(We updated the links in the article on March 8, 2021)