#TalkingStalking Ep 3: Threats, Morphed Nudes & No Help From Cops
Anamika (name changed) was surfing through her Instagram casually one evening when she received an anonymous message on her private chat. She clicked on the notification, imagining it to be a run-of-the-mill forward. The tap however, changed her life.
It was a photograph of her face morphed on a naked body. She was frozen, too shocked to react. She clicked on the profile of the person who sent it, but found nothing in it.
She couldn’t believe what was happening. She was shocked, violated.
She showed the picture to her father, unsure of what needed to be done. She went to the nearest police station with her father to lodge an FIR. Unfortunately, the cops seemed clueless on how to deal with the cyber crime.
The father-daughter were met with nonchalance, with the police even reluctant to file an FIR. The cops said filling an FIR could be a cumbersome process for both the police and the victim. They just registered a complaint and promised to do their best.
The police’s promise fell short and no action was taken for days. A tweet to Maneka Gandhi and several media stories later, the police agreed to file an FIR and move ahead in the case.
Although the accused has been identified, the police have not yet made any attempts to arrest him. He continues to work and walk scot-free.
The Quint Steps In
We helped Anamika seek help from Uttar Pradesh Police’s Additional Superintendent of Police Dinesh Yadav.
Yadav has helped set up the UP Police’s Cyber Crime Department. According to him, the police should’ve filled an FIR in the first instance itself.
The Quint independently checked the cyber crime website of the Rajasthan Police. A simple Google search under ‘Cyber Crime Rajasthan’ shows up the website of a private consultant.
When we contacted the the Cyber Crime Cell of Rajasthan, they discredited the website.
What Is the Cyber Crime Law?
The Information Technology Act 2000 was brought in to deal with e-commerce and electronic records, and also to punish e-commerce offences. Offences such as intimidation, insult, harassment, and defamation in cyber space continued to be punishable only under the Indian Penal Code till the 2008 amendment to the IT Act.
Now, Section 66A in the amended IT Act deals with such crimes. Sending any message (through a computer or a communication device) that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; any communication which he/she knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing insult, and annoyance and criminal intimidation comes under this section. This crime, under the current IT/cyber/criminal laws in India is punishable up to three years with a fine.
Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence
Do you know that stalking is a bailable offence under the Indian criminal law? This allows stalkers to get bail without serious scrutiny, often putting victims at risk of facing acid attacks, rapes, and sometimes even murder.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
- There has been a 33 percent rise in stalking cases. As many as 4,699 cases were reported in 2014 and 6,266 cases were reported in 2015
- Around 26 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2015
- Around 35 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2014
- In 2015, 83 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- In 2014, 85 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- Around 60 percent of all accused were men aged between 18 and 30. Around 2 percent were juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18.
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.
If you are being stalked or know someone who is being stalked, do reach out to us. You can email us at email@example.com or drop in a message at +91 9999008335. You can also call every Wednesday between 5pm-6pm to speak directly with Richa Anirudh.
Let’s break this silence together.
Camera: Athar Rather and Abhishek Ranjan
Assistant Cameraperson: Shiv Kumar Maurya
Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Producer: Garvita Khybri
Actors: Rohit Khanna and Deeksha Sharma