Andhra Pradesh

A friend for stalked women in cyberspace

Cyber Mithra receives 54 complaints in just 15 days of its launch

With cyberspace becoming the new playground for criminals to stalk unsuspecting women, the Andhra Pradesh police recently launched the ‘Cyber Mithra’ to handle cases relating to harassment of girls and women in the social media.

The brainchild of Director General of Police Gautam Sawang, the ‘Cyber Mithra’ started functioning at full throttle.

Women MLAs’ case

But what the police least expected was a case in which women MLAs were subjected to harassment by an unidentified miscreant, who posted lewd comments against them on his Facebook page.

42-year-old Punugupati Ramesh, who is now behind bars, had posted a picture of six MLAs and wrote a nasty comment on July 27 when the Assembly was in session.

Acting on a complaint by Assembly Secretary Balakrishna Acharyulu, the Thullur Police (Guntur Rural) registered a case and began investigation.

The DGP, who took a serious note of the incident, directed the police to use the latest tracking technology to zero in on the accused.

The police identified the man’s antecedents and traced his location to a remote village in Prakasam district, Chandrasekharapuram. A special team rushed to the village, but the accused gave it the slip.

What followed was a cat-and-mouse game, with the accused changing his locations and using different SIM cards, after realizing that the police were in hot pursuit. He moved from Nellore to Coimbatore, then to Salem, and back to Chennai. He later moved to Bengaluru. The police teams finally pinned him down in Bengaluru a couple of days ago.

The police received support from the Cyber Mithra teams, which tracked the locations of the accused using the IMEI numbers of his mobile phone. The AP police, who had been trained in the usage of latest tracking technology, were able to nab a cyber stalker.

Helpline

“Safety of women is high on the agenda of the government, which has launched two toll-free numbers (112 and 181) and a WhatsApp number (9121211100). A Facebook page, ‘AP Police Women Safety Cyber Space’, has also been launched. The response to Cyber Mithra is tremendous as we have received 54 complaints in just 15 days. We have completed investigation in 41 cases,” said Mr. Gautam Sawang.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:37:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-friend-for-stalked-women-in-cyberspace/article29103660.ece

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