Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Phone harassment and registering the complaint

I was at the local police station last night.

My family had received three harassing phone calls from an unknown cellular number. So when I reached home, the first thing I did was to call back the number to talk to the person who had made the calls. After making a lame excuse that 'You are not *****?', the other party launched into a tirade of abuses in the local languange. I told him that I understood the local language and would go to the police. Which resulted in another barrage of abusive language. I was enraged and set out for the nearest police station. Now, that was the easy part.

Unless you are fluent in the local language, you are at a disadvantage the moment you step into a government office and the police station was no exception. After convincing an officer to register the complaint, I had to lead the officer through the how's and when's of what had happened. After entering all of it into a form and taking the printout, I was asked to sign it. It was of course in the local language, which I am not able to read, but I could see that my address was showing the old one that I had previously moved from, a few months back. I asked the officer about that and he said that perhaps their systems were not updated. They just feed in my personal registration number and the rest of the details are retrieved from the system. Anyway, I signed it and gave it back to him and then he told me to come back in the morning at 9 AM. I was surprised and asked why he could not do anything right there and then. He had a phone right in front of him and all he had to do was contact the person over the phone and talk to him. I was made to understand that his job was just to register the complaint and the officer-in-charge of the day shift will decide what action to take.

So, this morning, I was at the police station again at 9 AM. After waiting there for about twenty minutes, I was finally able to get an officer to work on the case and the first thing he asked me was to get my family there for taking their statements, which left me speechless for a moment. It took me a few minutes to make them understand that I was the one making the complaint, not my family, so why would they want their statements? The officer got my point and finally decided to call the other party. They tried twice, but it was in vain because the other party did not respond. The officer told me that I could leave and they would contact me if they needed more input from me. I asked them to make sure that my phone number on the paperwork was correct, since it was automatically retrieved from the system, just like the wrong address. And of course , it was incorrect, because when we moved, our number was changed as well, and the system was not up to date. I provided them with the correct contact number. What I understood from the officers' banter among themselves was that the case would be kicked upstairs to the next authority in the chain, which was not very heartening.

Do I feel justified in approaching the authorities in this situation? I have already spent some valuable time and effort on it to get the wheels in motion and who knows how much more time and effort I might have to devote to it in the future. While, the guilty party has not been impacted at all so far and may perhaps never face any action. Because it is so easy to get mobile phone chips over the counter and almost impossible to track down the actual user.

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