The Union government on Monday launched the National Helpline Against Atrocities (NHAA) to ensure the proper implementation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and to report any violations.
The toll-free and round-the-clock helpline was launched by Union social justice and empowerment minister Virendra Kumar.
“NHAA will ensure registration of every complaint as an FIR, relief is provided, and all registered complaints are investigated and all charge sheets filed are prosecuted in the courts for decision within the given timelines in the Act… Ending atrocities and discrimination against Scheduled Castes /Scheduled Tribes is our top priority,” the minister said.
The helpline will be available in Hindi, English and the regional languages of the respective states and Union territories. The helpline number is 14566.
“The helpline can be accessed by making a voice call /VOIP either from a mobile or landline number of any telecom operator across the country… It will also be available as a web-based self-service portal. The NHAA will generate informed awareness about the various provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, 1989 and the Protection of Civil Right (PCR) Act, 1955 that are aimed at ending discrimination and provide protection to all,” the ministry of social justice and empowerment said in a statement.
The helpline will also have a grievance tracking system, and the feedback system will also be made available to the complainants.
“Every provision of the Acts related to the victim shall be monitored and compliance shall be ensured by triggering communication/ reminders with State/UT implementing authorities in the form of sending messages /e-mails,” the statement added.
The prevention of atrocities Act prohibits discrimination, prevents atrocities and hate crimes against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Hansraj Suman, chairperson of Delhi University SC, ST and OBC teachers association, said: “The government should do a wide publicity of this helpline so that those who actually need it get to know about it.”