Patiala Man Booked for Allegedly Stalking & Harassing School Girls
An 18-year-old man has been booked in Patiala for allegedly stalking school girls. According to a report by the Times of India, a bunch of girls traveling to school everyday in an auto rickshaw were being constantly stalked by a man.
Despite telling the accused to back off, he continued to stalk them on their journey and harass them on the way. According to the Times of India report, the accused works as a class 4 officer in a private company.
The school girls along with their parents and the auto rickshaw driver filed a complaint on 12 May accusing the man of stalking and harassment.
The accused hails from my own village. He used to stalk girl students of the government primary school when they would travel in my auto rickshaw. The girls had asked me many times to stop the accused from following them. I had in turn spoken several times to the man myself. I had even warned his parents and a few villagers. That too didn’t stop him from stalking. Thus it was my moral duty to file a complaint as I am responsible for the girl students travelling in my rickshaw.The auto rickshaw driver to The Times of India
The cops, however, have not nabbed the accused yet.
Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence
The Quint has been running a campaign to make stalking a non-bailable offence since August 2017. 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. And that is exactly what happened in this stalking case as well. The accused was out on bail when he went on this killing spree.
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%
This is why The Quint has launched a petition along with Varnika Kundu and MP Shashi Tharoor to appeal that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh make stalking a non-bailable offence. Sign our petition here.
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