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Online harassment cases on the rise in Visakhapatnam

At least 30 cases being reported in cybercrime police station every month, says official

January 23, 2023 12:56 am | Updated January 26, 2023 10:06 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

On January 21, the cyber crime police arrested two persons for allegedly misbehaving with women online. In one case, the police arrested a youth from Kakinada, who sexually harassed a married woman. As per the police, the woman received a friend request from an unknown person on Instagram. After she accepted the friend request, the stranger started to chat with her and gradually befriended her in the name of love. The duo used to talk over phone.

After sometime, he started to threaten her that he would share the pictures, video calls and messages of the duo on social media, and then allegedly sexually harassed her. Irked by his behaviour, the woman lodged a complaint. In another case, the cybercrime police arrested a 26-year-old from the city, who had harassed a woman in “Clubhouse” app by passing derogatory statements.

The cases of harassment of women online (social media sites) have increased during COVID-19 pandemic and are on the rise ever since. As per Visakhapatnam cybercrime police, they have been registering at least 30 to 40 cases of harassment through social media, on an average every month. In almost all the cases, some unidentified persons get in contact with girls or women, mostly strangers through various apps and befriend them. For a period of time, both maintain good contact in the form of messages, chats and calls. After some time, the youth start harassing their victims by threatening to post their pictures, chats, voice messages calls online or send it to their family members.

As per the recent cases, the motto of the accused was to make money, getting their sexual desires fulfilled or to defame their victims. In a couple of cases which were reported last year, the accused have harassed women by threatening to upload their morphed nude pictures. A few cases of stalking and bullying are also being reported. In a bid to curb such cases, the cybercrime police have arrested around 10 persons for allegedly being involved in such activities, in the last three months.

Inspector of cybercrimes K. Bhavani Shankar told The Hindu that in almost all the cases, the accused are the youth, especially educated ones and those who have good knowledge of social media and messenger applications.

“Such harassment cases only occur only when the victims accept friend requests of unknown persons on social media. We (police) have been appealing to women to ensure their social media accounts are kept private, but not in public domain, so that their pictures, videos and posts are secure,” he said.

The Inspector also said that they were promptly responding to such harassment cases and arresting the accused within the minimum possible time. He also appealed to victims to come forward to file complaints in case of any such issue.

People coming across cybercrime issues may contact toll free number 1930, cybercrime portal www.cybercrime.gov.in and can contact cybercrime police station, he added.

During the year 2022, Visakhapatnam city had witnessed 93% rise in cybercrimes compared to the previous year. The number of cybercrime cases reported during 2022 was 610 as against 310 during 2021.

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