Lock, Stalk & lurking peril

DJ Varnika Kundu's online petition to make stalking a non-bailable offence has found tremendous support in the city.

She decided to be the change, instead of expecting it from others. Recently, Varnika Kundu, a DJ from Chandigarh started a petition to make stalking a non-bailable offense. It can be recalled that she experienced a stalking incident in the month of August, where a few men, allegedly including the son of Haryana’s BJP chief Subhash Barala, Vikas Barala, stalked her while she was on her way back home. More than a lakh people have already signed the petition to make stalking and harassment a ‘non-bailable’ offense as part of a private member’s bill in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Chaavi NagpalChaavi Nagpal

There are plenty of women out there in Bengaluru and other cities in India who have gone through similar experiences. Ishita Kashyap, a counsellor shares her terrible experience on being harassed on the road. She says “I was walking back from my office and somebody started following me. All of a sudden, a person from behind grabbed my hair and tried to kiss me. But, thankfully some guys from behind saw that happening and yelled at the guy and sent him away. I was quite shaken after the incident, and injured my knee.”

Steffi GeorgeSteffi George

Being stalked or harassed might just sound very trivial and people can think it’s a small issue but certainly not, shares Madhumita Natrajan a video producer. She says, “I have been stalked and harassed a multiple times on the streets of Bengaluru but being a local, I know where I can seek help. But my main concern is for people who are new to the city, and ignoring this safety issue has in fact affected many women, personally. Like, when I was in Delhi, a man pinched my breasts and just disappeared into the open. I still remember that day. I feel people like that shouldn’t be let out in the open. Knowing they are out there is a frightening thought.”

After being constantly stalked by a man for two years, Chaavi Nagpal, a student, who was mentally tormented, says, “When you are stalked, it constantly stresses and frustrates you. You get so fed up with boys and stuff that you really don’t want to go out with anyone then.”

Marketing agent, Steffi George recounts an incident at a smoking zone near her office where a middle-aged man kept staring at her legs as she was wearing a skirt. She says “He kept staring at it for very long, and when I spoke up and argued with him, he created a scene. I can’t put a man in jail for that but if other such incidents were strictly acted upon, these guys would be scared to look at us with perverted eyes.” No one will know whether the pain of being stalked overtakes the pain of being accused wrongly of an action that is so serious.

Nithya J Rao, a psychologist feels, “This petition prevents people from such behaviour. Fear of being caught is a great motivation. On the other hand, if people start feigning victimisation and misuse the law, non-bailability would be a very high price to pay for those wrongly accused.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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