List of mobile phone shops near schools being prepared

After the city police and the narcotics cell turning their attention to educational institutions in the city with drug peddlers expanding their business among students, the anti-piracy cell (APC) too is shifting its focus towards schools in and around the city as peddlers of a different kind are trying to make inroads into the schools.

The APC, which has made a list of schools and is in the process of identifying mobile phone shops in the vicinity of schools, took up the initiative after it came to its notice that several such shops were sale spots for pornographic clips, mostly mobile phone versions, with a majority of the clients being students. The attempt to curb the sales will be a State-wide effort, to be launched in Thiruvananthapuram, according to B. Varghese, Superintendent, APC.

The APC had conducted a similar drive in Thiruvananthapuram in February, raiding shops in Neyyattinkara, Parassala, and Chenkal regions following complaints from teachers. Several mobile phone shops and internet cafes had at least 1,000 pornographic clips ready for sale.

The clients were mostly students from Classes eight to 10, with clips being sold at prices ranging as low as Rs.10 to Rs.20 per clip. There were students who managed photographs and video clips from their neighbourhoods or even own homes and sold them to mobile-phone shop owners for a price. Inquiries revealed that boys sometimes passed on these clips to their female classmates as well. The APC was contemplating awareness classes in schools to curb the trend.

Once the APC made the seizures, the case would be passed onto the local police station.

The APC has submitted a proposal to the government asking for more powers and creation of four ranges in the State, each under a deputy superintendent of police. It now has only one Superintendent, one Deputy SP, one circle inspector, and about 10 policemen to cover the entire State. There were nodal officers, drawn from the Crime Branch in each district who passed on information to the cell, which was looking at more manpower to strengthen its activities.