Despite growing awareness, stalking is still not considered a serious crime - Firstpost
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Despite growing awareness, stalking is still not considered a serious crime

With a sharp rise in cases, Delhi is now also seen as the capital of stalking. Only on 20 September, a stalker killed a woman brutally by stabbing her with a scissor at Burari in Delhi.

The incident where stalker Surender Singh stabbed the woman to death happened just a day after another man stabbed a woman to death and killed himself at South West Delhi. Only in the year 2016, five women lost their lives at the hands of stalkers in the city.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

As per record of National Crime Records Bureau, cases of stalking have grown from 541 in 2014 to 1,124 in 2015.

Criminal lawyer Tarminder Singh attributes this rise in the cases of stalking to growing awareness among the women.

“Earlier stalking was not included in the Indian Penal Code. Hence it was not possible to file a case against a stalker. Now that it is included as a crime in the Indian Penal Code women have come forward to file such cases,” he says.

He also says that stalking was always there. But many women kept silent as there was no legal provision to book stalkers.

As per national crime records bureau, the average age of a stalker is 18-30 years, which signifies the presence of mental health problems among some youth.

Psychologist Anup Dhar, who is presently working as the Associate Professor of Psychology in Ambedkar University Delhi says that stalking emerges out of a warped notion of love, where the stalker wants to possess the woman.

“Women are often seen as objects to be possessed in a patriarchal society. Stalkers are not lovers. They just want to possess the woman. They tend to harm her when they fail to do so,” he adds.

He also says that men brought up in an environment where women are not respected can grow up to be stalkers.

“A kid has to see the woman being respected in his home to be respectful to the opposite sex when he grows up,” he further says.

Asha Thakur, a retired ACP of Special Unit for Children and Woman, says that stalkers are often aloof in nature. She also says that stalkers often mistakenly believe that the girl is in love with him.

“Sometimes they take the friendly behavior of a woman as a gesture of love and follow her and try to contact her even when the woman is clearly unwilling to keep in touch with them,” she says.

India included stalking as a crime in the Indian Penal Code after the Nirbhaya rape case, with up to three years imprisonment as punishment. But some police officials are yet to take stalking as a serious crime.

Anup Dhar says, “There are instances where police officials advised the complainants to compromise with the stalkers. But it is not a crime that can be compromised.”

As per news reports the two women who lost their lives at the hands of stalkers in two different incidence of stabbing had complained to the police of being stalked, but police officials at the station advised them to compromise, rather than arresting the stalkers.

Sumedha Dwivedi IPS, who presently works as the Senior Superintendent of Police in the National Human Rights Commission says that law making is not enough to stop a crime. Enforcement of the law is equally important.

“We are better off now to fight stalking as we have a separate provision for this crime in the Indian Penal Code. But criminal justice system has to work pro-actively to book the criminal. Not only that, society also should report such crime against women as soon as they come into notice,” she says.

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