#TalkingStalking: Whoever Breaks Up, It’s Always Woman That Bears The Brunt

Representational image - Sakshi Post

Hyderabad: Number of jilted lovers turning stalkers and causing physical harm and spreading malicious content online has seen a constant rise in the past few years in the city. The year 2017 saw an alarming rise in such cases in Hyderabad, according to the police records.

The cyber cell dealing with the spreading of obscene content online registered 16 cases under Sections 354 C (watching or capturing image of a woman) and 354 D (use electronic communication to commit the offence of stalking) of the IPC between January and April this year.

Most of the offenders in these cases were jilted lovers-turned-stalkers in the age group of 20-35. The number of cases registered this year were the highest in the last three years.

In most of the cases, it was the men who attacked or stalked their crushes or ex-girlfriends as they refuse to take a “no” for an answer and do not think twice before causing harm to the other person. Online harassment is the newest form of stalking most jilted lovers are resorting to in the recent past.

In a recent incident, the cybercrime police arrested a 34-year-old man for creating a fake Facebook account to upload salacious messages about a woman. “One Naresh Kumar alias Ravi, a resident of Guntur, did it after a girl rejected his proposal for marriage. He even threatened to kill the entire family,” said K. Sudharshan Reddy, inspector with the Cyberabad cybercrimes.

In another incident on September 22, a 29-year-old jilted lover-turned-stalker, Veeresh Khanapure from Karnataka was arrested for abusing another man from Hyderabad on social media who got engaged with the girl who rejected his proposal.

In most of the cases, the girls are at the receiving end. “No matter who ends the relationship, the girl is always on the loss,” says a senior police officer.

“Teach men how not to stalk, how to control anger, how to become more ‘marriageable’. Why should the onus always be on the woman,” questioned Karuna Nundy, a lawyer, at #TalkingStalking, an event hosted by The Quint in Delhi on Sunday.

It was organised to spread awareness about a Shashi Tharoor’s Private Member’s Bill which seeks to stalking a non-bailable offense. The bill, drafted by The Quint team, Kamini Jaiswal and Karuna Nundy, and will be presented in the Parliament in the budget session.

The Bill is premised on the shocking incident from Chandigarh which shot Varnika Kundu, a 29-year-old woman, into limelight a few months ago. She was harassed by two men in an SUV in Chandigarh on August 5.

The two men were initially charged under section 354 D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, and later, under sections 341, 365 and 511 of the IPC. But the two accused, one of whom was the son of a BJP leader, got away because stalking is a bailable offense.

Following public uproar however, they were later charged with attempted abduction, and have repeatedly been denied bail since.

Talking about the bill, Tharoor said, “Those who aren’t allowing this Bill are doing an insult to the Varnikas and Laxmis of the country.” He also mentioned that bills often get passed only when there is a strong political imperative to do so, especially when legislative victory is linked to political ends.

“We’re quite a country of stalkers,” Karuna noted, “We have a lot of stalkers in this country. We have stalkers in our movies, we have stalkers in our parliament – and they admitted it, ki peecha karte hai!” Referring to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, she added, “Parliamentarians who are against this [have] only revealed their patriarchy – and that patriarchy succeeded in 2013. That patriarchy, that misogyny, cannot succeed.”

As recent cases have shown, stalking has often been the precursor to worse crimes including violence and murder.

This was highlighted by Tharoor was well. Stalking being a bailable offence “highlights the extent to which this kind of behaviour is seen as commonplace and not even particularly exceptional,” he said.

Another reason for making it a non-bailable offence, experts pointed out, was that the current law increases the sense of impunity that stalkers enjoy. “You’re essentially saying that if at all anything goes wrong, you can be out of there quickly and you can carry on without being affected by it,” Tharoor said.

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