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After Pulwama, CRPF Madadgaar Has Become the Lifeline for Kashmiris All Over

Madadgaar currently has five dedicated phone lines manned by especially selected and trained CRPF personnel in three eight-hour shifts to provide assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Updated:February 19, 2019, 1:37 PM IST
After Pulwama, CRPF Madadgaar Has Become the Lifeline for Kashmiris All Over
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Despite having suffered a devastating suicide bomber attack in Kashmir, which killed and injured scores of their personnel, just days ago, the Central Reserve Police Force has soldiered on with the kind of grace and courage that one always hopes to associate with India's armed forces.

From immediately swinging into search and rescue operations, which includes the painful task of identifying remains of their martyred comrades, to securing the blast area and expediting investigations by various security agencies, to doing their best to maintain calm in a highly tense situation, CRPF forces haven't allowed the terrorist attack to cause a break in their stride.

Indeed, one particular unit of the CRPF has been playing no small part in helping people in the troubled state since the last year and a half. On June 16, 2017, the CRPF, which is deployed for security duties in Jammu and Kashmir, had launched the 24/7 helpline Madadgaar to aid any Valley resident who is in distress, or requires any kind of assistance.

Having fielded 3.45 lakh phone calls since it began, Madgaar’s purview includes providing citizens with information on conditions like weather, traffic, troop and movement restrictions, as well as relief work and even career counselling and employment opportunities; perhaps more vitally, it acts as a conduit between the valley and those of its people residing in other states.

According to the in-charge of Madadgaar, the 24-hour helpline typically receives 400-500 calls a day requesting general information while around 10-20 calls require direct intervention of Madadgaar, wherein it intercedes with other government agencies on behalf of ordinary citizens.

This latter category has obviously seen a rise since the terrorist attack in Pulwama and the subsequent curfew imposed on Jammu and the valley. Due to the movement restrictions, the majority of these calls are from people requiring assistance in either travelling within the valley or returning to it from other states.

Madadgaar has also been getting calls from Kashmiris living and working in other states, and who are apprehensive about their safety following rising communal tensions across various parts of the country after the attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama. In most cases, Madadgaar gets in touch with the local police stations of where the concerned callers are currently living and ensures their security that any untoward action will be met with swift response. They also soothe the apprehensions of worried callers, and aid those who are determined to return to the valley with going back home.

When three boys in Mysore were arrested for allegedly posting comments celebrating the attack and their communication prohibited, Madagaar was in touch with police officials in the southern city to reassure the boys’ families back home of their condition and the proceedings as they took place. Similarly, when Kashmiri students in Dehradun required police protection but their communications were restricted, Madadgaar officials were in touch with Uttarkhand police officials to keep check on their security and state of mind.

Indeed, in the days following the attack, the number of this category of call has increased exponentially, and continues to do so. Just this morning, 250 students from Dehradun, Chandigar, and Delhi among other places, who had reached Jammu, were brought to Kashmir this morning by Madadgaar. They were provided dinner last night before being brought to Kashmir.

Madadgaar also provides relief to residents of the valley stranded without food and basic necessities due to curfews and other restrictions. In case they receive such a call, Madadgaar’s good Samaritans contact the CRPF battalion located closest to the affected area to provide food and any other aid the residents might require.

Madadgaar currently has five dedicated phone lines manned by especially selected and trained CRPF personnel in three eight-hour shifts to provide assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While the calls from out-of-state Kashmiris worried about their security is now on the decline, there are still calls requesting assistance in movement to and around the state. More encouragingly, the Madadgaar official notes that there has been a flood of calls from people around the country asking how they can help the martyrs' families and others affected by the tragedy.

Perhaps, it will comfort these good samaritans, in turn, to know that their calls will always be answered. And thanks to the CRPF Madagaar, people in the valley know the same.

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