Did Bollywood Teach Us That Stalking = Love? Delhiites Weigh In

Tu haan kar ya na kar, I’m a stalker? Obsessively chasing someone is stalking. Here’s what Delhiites have to say. 

3 min read

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim & Purnendu Pritam
Camera: Shivkumar Maurya

Hothon pe na dil mein haan hoinga...

Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran...

Saat samundar paar main tere, peeche peeche aagayi...

Tera pichha na main chhodunga soniye...

Hum tujhko uthakar le jayengay...

The list of Bollywood songs that touch upon stalking could go on and on. But we are all Bollywood fans and dance to these numbers at parties and wedding functions.

Do we get influenced by these songs and movies? In 2015, an Indian man was accused of stalking two women and his lawyer successfully argued that Bollywood movies show that patiently pursuing a woman yields positive results, Telegraph reported.

His lawyer argued that stalking was “quite normal behaviour” for Indian men.

And the court passed a judgment in his favour saying that his cultural background had influenced his behaviour!

So, does Bollywood really give us the inspiration to pursue the ‘love of our life’ endlessly and do people think it’s romantic and all part of the ‘game’ of love? We went around Delhi streets to get a sense of what people think about stalking.

In the words of our interviewees:

Bollywood movies do give inspiration to one-sided lovers. 
It’s okay to  chase someone if you love them and you are serious about the relationship. 
If a guy is obsessively following her then she must consider not being with him at all. 

The Quint is running a campaign called Talking Stalking which asks for stalking to be a non-bailable offence. When the Justice Verma committee proposed a section for stalking in 2013, after the Nirbhaya gangrape case in 2012, they wanted stalking to be added as a non-bailable offence.

Why Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence?

The fact that stalking is still a bailable offence in our country allows stalkers to get bail without serious scrutiny. This often puts the survivors at risk of facing acid attacks, rape, and even murder.

Stalking as a separate offence did not exist in the IPC till 2013. This necessarily affects any analysis of the statistics relating to stalking, as the National Crime Records Bureau (“NCRB”) only has statistical data for the years 2014-2016. Despite this, the data available paints an interesting picture of the nature of the crime and the way it is being dealt with in the country.

  • In 2014, nearly 4,700 cases of stalking were reported. This jumped to 6,300 in 2015 – a 33% increase. In 2016, nearly 7,200 cases were reported. Given that awareness about the offence is still nascent and society still tends to view stalking as not too serious an offence, such high numbers, with increases every year, indicate how prevalent the crime really is.
  • Pendency rates for trials are high. In 2016, 13,449 cases were pending trial for stalking, out of which trial was completed in only 1,534 cases i.e. 11.4%. This leaves a huge backlog of trials to be carried forward into the new year.
  • In terms of the number of cases reported each year, only 3% in 2014, 5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016 resulted in convictions. In terms of trials, the conviction rate was 35% in 2014, but dropped to 26% in 2015 and stood at 26.4% in 2016.
  • Importantly, the data indicates a lower-than-normal incidence of false cases. The NCRB’s statistics show that of the 9,800 stalking cases investigated by the police in the year, only 215 were found by them to be false. This comes out to be only 2.1% of all cases investigated in the year – which is below the average percentage of false cases per crimes investigated across the country: 2.5%.

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