Why Stalking Should be Made into a Non-bailable Offence
Safety is a question that we as women face on a daily basis. Every other day, there are at least two incidents of women-related crimes.
We will be stepping into the 2018th year of our existence, even though we have made significant achievements in the fields of medicine and science, we have reached the moon and back, yet we fail to develop our thinking when it comes to the most important resource of all the human resources.
In October, Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Malliwal termed Delhi as the stalking capital. Her comment came after the case of murder in which a girl was stabbed multiple times by her harasser in broad daylight.
According to available data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of crimes against women which includes rape, abduction, assault, domestic violence, etc by 34% over the last four years till 2015. Also, these are the statistics of reported crimes. Most of such crimes go unreported.
Apart from these offences, there is another offence which has normalized to such an extent that people feel it’s okay to do that. I’m talking about stalking.
Stalking, by definition is the unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group of people towards another person, including following them in person on virtually as well.
The number of incidents related to stalking is on the rise in our country. NCRB data suggests that 80% of the people accused of stalking are given bail before the charge sheet is filed. Yes, it is a bailable offence that allows the stalkers to walk free, that in return puts the victim at a further risk and might even lead to acid attacks, rapes or murder.
Just a few days back, a 22-year-old in Chennai, was set ablaze by her stalker, who was her schoolmate, just because she rejected his proposals.
Also, all of us remember the infamous Chandigarh Stalking case, where Varnika Kundu the daughter of an IAS officer was harassed in Chandigarh in the middle of the night by a Haryana BJP leader’s son in Chandigarh.
Not to forget victim blaming. On complaining about such incidents, the people in charge of the security have simply responded by saying that it’s a normal thing. That we as women should be okay with kind of harassment in any form put forth across us.
As a young and independent girl when I spoke to my peers about their experience with stalking in Delhi, the responses were really shocking. Most of them including myself have been a victim of stalking. If not on an acute level but to a certain extent like being followed on two-wheelers or cars, and while using public transport like buses and trains.
It has become so common that there is a dire need for stalking to be made a non-bailable offence, because we live in a world where this kind of harassment has been glorified in the movies we see. Bollywood has often shown stalking as a legitimate way of wooing. And in India we hero-worship our actors.
It’s almost like asking for basic security is too much. I want to be able to live in a country where women can step out alone at whatever time they want, wearing whatever they want without the constant fear of their own safety.
Heena Manghani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.