Mobile numbers of unsuspecting girls are being sold from recharge outlets across Uttar Pradesh for prices based on their looks and are being used by men to harass them over the phone, police say.
The thriving racket has come to light after a round-the-clock police helpline, 1090, set up by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was flooded with complaints from women about unsolicited calls. Out of the 6 lakh-odd complaints registered with the helpline in the past four years, 90% related to harassment of women on the phone.
A majority of the men – who seek to entice women with the preferred opening line ‘humain aapse dosti karna hai’ or ‘I want to make friendship with you’ – get the numbers from outlets where women go to recharge their mobile phones.
The unscrupulous rechargers save the numbers and then pass them on to those willing to pay. The number of someone considered ‘beautiful’ can command as much as Rs 500. The selling price for the number of an “ordinary looking girl” fetches Rs 50.
…Police officials say the jails will overflow if those trading in mobile numbers have to be booked.