Stalking in India: A Glorified Crime

According to statistics gathered by the Hindustan Times, women in India are victims in about 74 per cent of all stalking cases. After the famous 2012 Nirbhaya case in New Delhi, three more women were attacked by their stalkers within 48 hours and many more have been since then, proving how big of an issue it is for women in India.

Stalkers can have a range of motives, and the variety of cases proves this. A stalker might have had his proposal rejected. He might want intimacy. He might be thinking that he was humiliated by the victim after their relationship ended. This is true for women not only in India, but for women all over the world. Regardless of location, nobody has the right to follow a woman without her consent.

However, I am stressing women in India here because regional movies have been glorifying stalking. In the Tamil movie “Sivaji,” for example, we first see the leading lady reject the man’s love. For the rest of the film, she is followed by him everywhere she goes and he stalks her in all sorts of ways possible until, finally, she agrees to his proposal.

People enjoy these films and they are received well in the box office. It is rather taken in a funny way in films where the man would follow the lady and be shown as something cute but it is of a major concern today. It is not okay to show such scenes and wrongly influence the younger generation.

Stalking has become a nuisance and, in some cases, dangerous for women. There have been so many shocking cases, including a stalker stabbing a teacher with a pair of scissors and a stalker killing a woman in broad daylight in Gurgaon. Very recently, there was a case of a woman working in Chennai who was brutally stabbed to death in a railway station by a man who stalked her and got agitated when she rejected his proposal.

In all of these cases, the victims had already complained about the stalkers and the men backed off for a while, only to come back with a vengeance and kill them. Some women are brave enough to face the consequences but others get panicked from the moment a guy starts to stalk them. They should immediately seek help and resolve the issue before it turns into something serious. No matter what, women should not let men deprive them of their right to choose their life partner and these stalking cases stand as an example for this.

Iswarya V, a drama researcher, started a petition against the media’s glorification of stalking. It is an online petition where she insists filmmakers stop portraying stalking as a playful and acceptable way to woo a woman. This petition is slowly starting to gain momentum.

Judging by most of the women these films portray, these criminal acts are harmless and common.  According to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, however, it is a serious crime to follow and stalk a girl without her consent, even if it is her own father.

Sadly, there has not been any decrease in stalking since this Act was put in place. According to the National Crime Records bureau, stalking cases doubled in Delhi last year, which is also known for being the rape capital of India. And, still, there was yet another a Tamil film produced where the heroine is engaged and has no idea that the hero exists. Eventually he stalks her, disguises himself as a nurse and finally makes her fall in love with him.

There needs to be something done against this to ensure the safety of women in India and all over the world.

Sri Vishwanathan

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