Social messaging app Whatsapp has found new uses in India and this time on a much larger scale for an extremely important cause – crime busting.

No more calling!
No more calling!

Instance of overspeeding, rash driving, riders jumping red light and hit and run are the most common traffic offenses to find across the country. Recently, the UP Traffic police have launched a Whatsapp based complaint portal where users have been encouraged to notify the police about traffic offences through images and video.

The UP police say that the response from this service has been tremendous and that they have filed 3363 challans so far from the complaints received. This complaint service on WhatsApp was launched by Lucknow’s Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Navneit Sikera. The police department now plans to combine the service with the women’s helpline 1090 to nab culprits indulging in antisocial behavior like eve-teasing, molestation and other crime against women.

Other government bodies have also adopted the same kind of service based on Whatsapp. The GRP (Government Railway Police) have also adopted this service to nab anti-social elements who disturb or molest fellow passengers. A recent incident in Mumbai, as reported on mid-day.com, where a 16 year old girl’s photos were clicked and circulated by a passenger using Whatsapp, was caught by other commuters and the culprit was handed over to the GRP. The culprit’s friend, who passed comments on the circulated image, has also been noted and booked by the GRP.

Cases of TTEs (Travelling Ticket Examiners) seeking bribes to confirm tickets and also to adjust illegal passengers on board trains and in some cases even GRP constables indulging in extortion in have reported via the Whatsapp service.

UPSRTC (UP State Roadways Transport Corporation) has also launched a state wide campaign encouraging users to report any issues so as to make buses and bus stations more clean and hygienic and to nab criminals who get away due to lack of evidence. Whatsapp services are being advertised wherein travelers and passengers are encouraged to click and share images and videos to showcase poor facilities, torn seats, ticketless travelers, lack of drinking water.

With 645 million userbase WhatsApp has gone mainstream in India and it’d be interesting if competitors like Hike (which recently raised $65mn) can displace them from the top slot (of a service which is engaging/used). 

Maybe for some segments (e..g youth), they can? But overall?

What are your thoughts?

And by the way, BJP plans to launch a Whatsapp like service.

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