Pune: In what could be one of its first use of the amended section 354 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with stalking, a 19-year old youth was arrested by Vishrantwadi police station.
Sagar alias Aryan Almelkar, a college student living in Wagholi, was arrested by the police for sending lewd text messages to a 16-year-old student. This is probably the first time the police have invoked the new provision in the section 354 that deals with stalking. It is a non-bailable offence as opposed to the earlier provisions where the culprit would usually be warned by the police and let off for want of adequate provision in the law.
Section 354 D stipulates that whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite the clear indication of disinterest by such person or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email, or any other form of electronic communication or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person or interferes with the mental peace of such person, is committing the offence of stalking.
The amendment was brought in by way of an ordinance amending the criminal law sometime in July this year. The amendment provides for a minimum of one year imprisonment that could be extended up to three years with fine. So far, the local police haven’t used the provision effectively.
Almelkar had been stalking the victim her for almost a month.
“He used to send her lewd messages and impersonated as Aryan in the messages. He abused and threatened the girl’s father when he called him to ask why he was harassing his daughter,” said Sudhakar Kate, senior police inspector at Vishrantwadi police station.
When asked why he decided to use the new amendment, Kate said he had recently received the circular and after looking at the details in this case thought it was fit to be used against Almelkar.
To avenge sister`s harassment
In an interesting twist, Almelkar told the police that his sister had been a victim of similar harassment by someone else. It was his way of avenging his sister’s humiliation. He claims to have procured the victim’s number from a sim card which he found in a missing phone.