Written: Mayura Janwalkar
The story of a 28-year-old PhD scholar from Delhi University bears resemblance to Hollywood films on witness protection and taking on new identities. She has been forced to conceal her identity in the north Delhi locality where she has been living with her family.
“I have not stepped out of my house in almost three months. Pursuing my education is becoming difficult. The few times that I had to go out, I covered myself completely so that my face won’t be seen. I have even changed the way I dress so that no one can recognise me from my clothes. I never go out unaccompanied,” she says.
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Hers is one among the 108 cases of stalking reported on the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW)-run helpline (181) in the last six months.
Narrating the “living nightmare” that has hounded her for over four years, she says what she has been through is a lot more than stalking.
“This boy was once my classmate. He has been stalking me since 2012. He has followed me, threatened me, assaulted me and even attempted an acid attack,” she tells The Indian Express.
Her family has been facing continuous mental harassment, she says. “I have received threats over the phone, over social media and my family too was not spared. I was told if I didn’t do as he said, he would morph my pictures and post them on social media. My mother was so tense that she had to be taken to hospital,” she adds.
From following her around to showing up in her college library, her stalker has been persistent and unwilling to face her family, she says. Initially her family only asked to “talk” to him.
“For a long time my family felt we should meet him and his family, talk it out and resolve the issue amicably. But he just refused. His family also appears to be supporting him,” she says.
After she first lodged a complaint of stalking and intimidation, she says the accused got anticipatory bail. With the help of the DCW, she lodged an FIR recently. “He has still not been arrested. I don’t know why. I will never be safe until he is put behind bars,” she says. “There are people he has asked to watch over me. They are usually somewhere near the house. Through common friends, he asked me to withdraw my complaint,” she adds.
The offences committed by the accused, she says, are of a very serious nature and she has already given her statement before a magistrate.
“There was an attempt to pull me into a car, I was touched inappropriately. Had my brother not been with me, can you imagine what could have happened?” she says.
She is, however, determined to fight to bring the accused to book. “I have mustered the courage to fight because I don’t know how many other girls are going through this. Maybe he is forcing other girls to marry him as well. I hope girls find the courage to fight against this. One can’t live the whole life in fear,” she says.
She went to cops, ended up lodging second complaint against a cop
Written: Abhishek Angad
A 25-year-old woman lodged a complaint at Safdarjung Enclave police station this month after she discovered five “obscene” messages on her social media account. The messages threatened her with “gangrape” and “murder” and the sender even claimed to know where she worked. Incidentally, she lodged another complaint at the same police station a while later — this time against a head constable posted there.
She alleged in her complaint that between 11.35 and 11.45 pm on October 3, she received four calls from two numbers. When she picked up the first call, nobody spoke. “The second time, a man identified himself as Abhinav and said, ‘Don’t you know me?’ I asked who he was and why he was calling me and hung up. I was very frightened considering the recent threats I have been receiving online.”
After the woman and her mother called up the numbers, they found that one of them belonged to a head constable at the police station. “I am now shocked, horrified and very scared for my security as the harassment for which I had complained to the police is now leading to harassment by the police themselves…” she said in her complaint. According to sources, when the head constable was confronted in front of the victim, he claimed his “phone was put on charge and someone else had used it”. He was transferred to a different police station, say sources.