THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The recent footage on social media showing three women roughing up a Thiruvananthpuram based YouTuber has forced Kerala Government and state police to wake up to the growing cyber crimes against women. Had it not been for their bold step of taking on the criminal, the authorities would have continued to remain mute to the cyber sexual attacks that women are experiencing in the state almost on a daily basis.
Many say complaints lodged by women against cybercrimes evoke little or no response at all from the police. In this particular instance, the YouTuber had posted the highly controversial video on August 15 with sexually explicit remarks against several prominent women personalities of Kerala. “Soon after we noticed this video, we got in touch with Thrissur Cyber Cell and requested them to initiate immediate action. But we were told that it was not possible to take the video down since it involved stock market ads and other issues.
Taken aback by their response we decided to take up the matter with the State Police Chief. Activist and lawyer Bindu Ammini gave a written complaint to the DGP seeking his immediate intervention. But we didn’t get any response from him either,” recalled Sreelakshmi Arackal, who along with noted dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi and Diya Sana who taught the YouTuber a harsh lesson for the rest of his life. The Kerala Cyber Crime Cell seems to be totally indifferent towards such complaints. “I have been a victim of cyberbullying multiple times. I have lodged complaints with Kerala Cyber Crime Cell at least seven times in the past but none of my complaints was investigated,” said Arackal.
In most cases, women who decided to take up complaints of online harassment with the authorities have had to face extreme disappointment. The statistics on paper itself indicates that the cases registered are far too low compared to the complaints that are coming up in the state daily. In 2019, the Kerala Police registered 280 cases under the IT Act and this was even lower than the 346 cases registered in 2018. While the cyber attacks are on the rise which is also evident from the incidents that are taking place, the number of cases is showing a decline.
According to women rights activists and former Member of Child Rights Commission J Sandhya, introducing more stringent Act to convict the offenders alone would not help. “What is needed urgently is a drastic change in the attitude of police towards such crimes,” said Sandhya.Former assistant commissioner of Kerala Police Hi-Tech Cell N Vinayakumaran Nair said that removing content uploaded in an international social media platform is not easy. He said there are many loopholes in the IT Act and the offender gets bail easily after committing crimes.