Volunteers harassed by unknown callers claiming to be from police

New Delhi: With normal citizens taking the bandwagon of helping patients and families struggling during this crisis, many have alleged that they have received threatening calls from people claiming to be from police authorities. Delhi Police has however in a statement denied the allegations, adding some groups thrive on "misinformation".

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a volunteer who has been working on Covid-19 emergencies said that she received a call from an unknown number threatening her. "He started asking about my location and what I do. They also asked me to stop all the volunteer work. Since then I have been receiving hundreds of calls threatening and harassing me," she told Millennium Post.

Emphasising on the fact that volunteers came together because the authorities failed to provide people with amenities to fight the virus, the volunteer said that these harassment calls on top of that are highly disturbing.

Meghna Prakash, writer and journalist in Delhi has created covid helpline network along with many volunteers. She said that people have been carelessly forwarding their numbers due to which they are being sent malicious content and photos. "It has now become overwhelming for us to work as volunteers because if at one side we are getting distress calls and on the other hand there are people who are such sending lewd and harassing messages," she added.

On asking why volunteers had to work on such a large scale to provide people, Prakash said that it has become to virtually get anything done as hospitals and government officials have stopped taking calls. "We have created a tracker, which has all the updated information about Covid, like bed availability etc. Meanwhile, we are trying to create a centralised database so that we can easily help people. Pan India Covid imitative has started," she said.

Another volunteer, who did not want to be named, said that it has been overwhelming to get anything done. "There are hundreds of distress calls and no one to help. And now we are hearing that volunteers are getting such calls is annoying," he said.

Although, no one could verify the source of calls, however a PIL has also been filed in Allahabad High Court by activist Saket Gokhale against Uttar Pradesh on the issue of coercive action taken against those who are appealing for oxygen on social media.

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