The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that a 24-hour helpline has been set up to investigate issues faced by inter-caste couples and offer them necessary assistance and protection. The counter affidavit was filed by Apurva Varma, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Home Department, on a contempt plea filed by K Samuelraj, state secretary of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front. The petitioner alleged that authorities had not complied with the directions given by the court in 2016 in the case of Vimaladevi of Usilampatti, who allegedly committed suicide by hanging after her inter-caste marriage was not accepted by her parents.
A special cell has been formed in all districts and cities in the state, comprising district-level officers such as superintendent of police and deputy commissioner of police at the city level, to receive complaints of harassment and threat to inter-caste couples, the counter affidavit said. There is an online complaint registration facility in both the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems and mobile app for citizens wherein complaints can be given online by aggrieved persons, it said. The complaints can be sent to the jurisdictional police station online. "This prevents the necessity of the inter-caste couples or even their relatives to physically go to the police station and give a complaint at the very first instance," it said.
Details regarding the setting up of special cells with 24-hour helpline numbers in all the districts will be uploaded in the official, police and government websites forthwith, it said. The is being done in strict compliance with the directions of the court and to ensure the complete eradication of 'honour killing' in the state and to create awareness about the steps taken by the government on the matter, the counter affidavit said. The case would come up for hearing on August 9.