Of 383 cyber crimes registered in Kerala in 2013, harassment was the motive of 35 per cent

The Kochi police are now receiving several complaints of women being harassed, not on the streets or in offices, but online. Harassment of women has taken a new form in the public space of Facebook and other social media.

According to statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau, harassment cases form a major chunk of the cyber crimes registered in the State. Of 383 cyber crimes registered in the State in 2013, harassment was the motive of 35 per cent. Motives like fraud or greed for money come a distant second to the number of harassment cases registered.

“We get a lot of complaints where young men post pictures of women or write abusive messages against them on Facebook. The reason is usually anger over a failed affair or some small argument. It’s very easy to harass a person on the internet,” said an officer of the Cyber Cell. The city police recently arrested a man who took to the internet in anger after a female interviewer turned him down for a job. The man allegedly posted the interviewer’s phone number online saying it was the number for a sex worker. Kochi saw 15 registered cases of cyber harassment in 2013.

The real number of cases, however, was much higher than the number of registered cases, the police said. “We get hundreds of complaints regarding harassment online. But most people don’t register cases as they just want the harassment to stop,” said a police officer.

Police turn party-poopers

Party goers at a star hotel in the city last weekend were in for a shock when a team of about 50 police officers turned up and began searching them for drugs.

The police had taken great care to set up the raid. A team from the special branch got into the building first disguised as party-goers. A special branch officer wearing a fake beard, dark sunglasses, and his best party clothes caused much amusement among media persons later. Soon after the plainclothes officers went in came the uniformed officers. The police searched the people at the party for illegal drugs. The operation was put into action following information that weekend parties at the hotel were a venue for sale of drugs.

The anti-climax of the operation was when police found just 7 gm of ganja, that too unclaimed, at the hotel. The police were expecting to find large quantities of drugs at the hotel, but were unable to make any arrests.

Party animals in the city, however, were a disappointed lot after the police operation.

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