New Delhi: Over 34,000 distress calls, a majority of them from people concerned about the well-being of family members living in Kashmir, were received by a Srinagar-based helpline of the CRPF following revocation of provisions of Article 370 by the Centre, officials said on Tuesday.
A total of 34,274 calls were received on the ‘Madadgaar’ helpline number – 14411 – and on a few other mobile numbers, after August 5, they said.
“A majority of the calls were from people enquiring about the well-being of their family and relatives living in Kashmir and about the situation in general,” a senior official said.
“As many as 1,227 calls involved matters of exigency, and in these cases, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel visited houses of people in Kashmir to help establish contact between the caller and the family,” he said.
The helpline is also working through a few mobile numbers during the communication clampdown, when the standard landline number, 14411, was blocked.
The Central government has diluted the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir given under Article 370 and declared its bifurcation into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. These two Union territories will come into existence from October 31.
‘Madadgaar’ was launched by the CRPF in June 2017 to help Kashmir Valley residents staying anywhere in the country. It operates from a CRPF camp in Srinagar. The helpline operates on Twitter as @CRPFmadadgaar.
The CRPF is the lead counter-terrorism, and law and order keeping central force in the Kashmir Valley with over 65 battalions (about 1,000 personnel each) permanently based there.
Officials also said the CRPF personnel dealing with the helpline visited the locals at their homes for other reasons such as delivering air tickets, informing people about changes in dates of interview or exam of students studying outside Jammu and Kashmir and informing locals about emergency calls.
As many as 123 patients, suffering from kidney-related ailments, cancer, diabetes and other diseases, were provided medicines at their home by the helpline personnel, the official said.