Stalker Murders 17-Year-Old Girl, Dumps Body in a TN Tea Estate
A 26-year-old man, who had allegedly stalked and harassed the girl, has been charged with her kidnap and murder.
The body of a 17-year-old girl, a Class 12 student, was found in a tea plantation area in Tamil Nadu hours after she was reported missing on Tuesday, 7 January.
According to a report in The News Minute, the 17-year-old's father realised that she was missing when he went to pick her up from school, and soon after filed a complaint at the Central Police Station in Ernakulam on Tuesday.
Hours later, the same night, the family was informed that the girl’s body was found at a forest region in Valparai, Tamil Nadu.
A 26-year-old man named Safar Shah, who had allegedly stalked, harassed, threatened and had even morphed her photographs, has been charged with kidnapping and murdering the girl.
According to The News Minute, while the father was filing the missing person’s report, Shah was driving away from Kochi with the girl in a stolen car. When the cops later stopped the car and questioned Shah, he broke down and confessed to have murdered a young woman and dumped her body in a tea plantation nearby.
“For the past eight months, he had been disturbing my daughter even after she rejected his advances. I used to take her to school every day as she feared him. He might have blackmailed her into making the journey with him. She had told me that this man was harassing her and even raised death threats. She was very upset when he morphed her photos. She was scared he would kill her. I used to drop her and pick her up from school every day because of him. On Tuesday, I dropped her at school. But when I went to pick her up, I could not find her.”Victim’s father to The Indian Express
As per the Valparai police, Shah claimed that they were in a relationship and he killed her as she was planning to go abroad for studies
Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence
The Quint has been running a campaign to make stalking a non-bailable offence. Stalking, as a bailable offence, allows stalkers to get bail without much scrutiny. This often poses the threat of acid attack, rape, and even murder on survivors. The aforementioned case is testament to the same.
Stalking as a separate offence did not exist in the IPC until 2013. This necessarily impacts any analysis of the statistics related 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 dealt with in the country.
- In 2014, nearly 4,700 cases of stalking were reported. The figure jumped to 6,300 in 2015 – a 33 percent increase. In 2016, nearly 7,200 cases were reported. Given that awareness about the offence is still at a nascent stage, and the offence is not taken seriously, numbers so high which only increase every year indicate how prevalent the crime actually 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 ie, 11.4 percent. 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 percent in 2014, 5 percent in 2015 and 5 percent in 2016 resulted in convictions. In terms of trials, the conviction rate was 35 percent in 2014, but dropped to 26 percent in 2015 and stood at 26.4 percent 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 percent of all cases investigated in the year – which is below the average percentage of false cases per crimes investigated across the country: 2.5 percent
This is why The Quint had launched a petition, along with Varnika Kundu – a survivor of stalking – and MP Shashi Tharoor, to appeal to then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to make stalking a non-bailable offence.
Follow our campaign here.
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