Delhi govt. issues guidelines for protection of interfaith couples

The Delhi government has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the protection of interfaith and intercaste couples from possible harassment and threats in the Capital. Distress calls made by such couples will be kept confidential.

The SOP, issued by the Social Welfare Department, includes setting up of ‘special cells’ by Deputy Commissioners of Police of respective districts, a round-the-clock helpline to assist such couples and safe houses to provide accommodation to them.

In March 2018, the Supreme Court had directed the government to create a ‘special cell’ in every district comprising the Superintendent of Police, the district social welfare officers and others to receive petition or complaints of harassment and threats to intercaste and interfaith couples.

As part of the initiative, the existing 181 toll-free women’s helpline operated by the Delhi Commission for Women will serve to receive complaints from harassed couples. “The telecallers, trained to handle distress calls and already aware about available services, can provide necessary assistance/advice to the couple in distress. If required, they can be further trained to handle such calls,” the SOP issued by the social welfare department states.

Provide safe house

After hearing the couple, the DCP of the area concerned, who will head the ‘special cell’, will bring the facts to the knowledge of the District Magistrate and convey their requirement for stay in a ‘safe house’.

Transportation for such couples will also be provided by the police.

Earlier this week, violence had erupted at south-east Delhi’s Harijan Basti over an interfaith marriage, following which the police arrested several persons for their alleged involvement in the incident.

“Adequate security shall be provided to the couple in form of PSO (protective service officer) and the ‘safe house’ will also be secured by the DCP of the area concerned. The couple shall be briefed about the threat to them and in no case will be exposed till the issue is resolved,” the SOP also states.

Strict action

In case the couple doesn’t want to stay in the ‘safe house’, the special cell will provide protection to them at their chosen place of stay. If preliminary enquiry ascertains the authenticity of threats, the DCP concerned will direct an ACP or sub-division police officer to register an FIR against those threatening the couple.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 5:11:07 PM |

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