#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.
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.
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.
If you are being stalked or know someone who is being stalked, do reach out to us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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