Creative Producers: Kunal Mehra, Shelly Walia
Camera: Athar Rather
What if someone follows you every minute of every day?
Someone who knows everything about you... against your will, against your rejections.
Someone who monitors your every social media post, story, like and tweet.
Thousands of women in our country live through this every day.
At least one case of stalking is reported every 55 minutes.
But, what's more scary is that not enough is being done to stop this from happening. And that's bloody serious.
But don’t we have laws against stalking?
It was only after the brutal 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder that stalking was made a “punishable offence”.
Under Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, stalking was made a punishable offence under Section 354D of the IPC with imprisonment of up to three years for first-time offenders.
Finally, given an option to complain against their stalkers, women have registered several cases over the years. In fact, from 2014-2018, stalking cases more than doubled in India.
But here’s the catch: Stalking is a bailable offence under this law. So what does that even mean?
Well basically, it means that even if the police take you seriously and arrest your stalker – they can get bail, automatically, at the police station, with no conditions and no judicial scrutiny. Unsurprisingly, that leaves them free to threaten their victims again.
The survivor? She is left facing not only extended harassment but are also is at risk of murder, rape, sexual assault, grievous hurt and acid attack.
The chances of which are incredibly high, given that trials are yet to be completed in a mammoth 87.9 percent of the cases – as of 2018.
Can we do anything to change this?
The Quint has been fighting to make stalking a non-bailable offence since 2017.
We have provided a platform to survivors of stalking to tell their stories again.
Shashi Tharoor in collaboration with The Quint introduced a private member's bill in Lok Sabha in March 2018.
The Quint was also successful in getting the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi in passing a resolution to make stalking a non-bailable offence in 2018.
The Quint is #TalkingStalking again.
We’re listening – again.
Stalking is a serious crime and to tackle it we need to get rid of pointless loopholes in the law. Join us in persuading your state government in pass an amendment to make stalking a non-bailable offence.
(This Women's Day, The Quint is relaunching its #TalkingStalking campaign to continue our fight to make stalking a non-bailable offence. Write to us and tell us your story at email@example.com.)
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)