news Monday, April 13, 2015 - 05:30
It was in February 2014 that social activist Sunitha Krishnan first published two gruesome gangrape videos on YouTube. In 48 hours, she received four more videos. Two months later, she has collected 90 more videos, each one of them recording an act of rape. These videos have been sent to Sunitha Krishnan and her NGO Prajwala by numerous people. “Almost all these videos have been shared on some forum or the other. I have also received links to certain websites that are hosting these videos,” Sunitha told The News Minute. The Supreme Court which asked the CBI to investigate the cases has expressed shock at the fact that there are many more such videos, and asked if there could be a national mechanism to deal with such crimes. Sunitha says watching some of the footage was a bone-chilling experience. She believes that such videos were the product of a perverse voyeuristic mindset and the intent to blackmail. "The issue at hand is not about the current number of videos but about the larger problem at hand about how there are so many rapists out there who are shamelessly flaunting their act without any fear," Sunitha tells TNM. A major chunk of the videos received are more than five minutes long and none from South India "In most of the videos I saw, the offenders were speaking in north Indian languages. I got them from all over the country including places like West Bengal and Odisha," says Hyderabad-based Sunitha. Each gangrape video consists of at least four or five people taking turns to hold down the woman, rape her and film the entire scene. Some of them so brazen, they talk to the camera, pass lewd comments and show off their genitals. “What I have inferred from watching the videos is that this is also not the first time the men are doing this. They seem to be at ease and happy while committing the act, and smiling into the camera like they have done this many times before.” says Sunitha. When asked why everyone has been approaching her and not the authorities, Sunitha remarks that registering a complaint with the cyber cell is no easy task. “The people who have found videos and want to report it to the cyber cell are bombarded with a large number of questions and made to sit through a range of formalities. It is very troublesome to file a complaint,” Sunitha adds. Sunitha is also worried as the CBI has not made any progress on the already existing videos that have been submitted after the arrests. “After the initial two arrests, there has hardly been any progress. This is a very serious issue and there has been no outcry from the media. There is a real need for people to sit up and take notice to try and tackle the issue. After all the fuss made about India’s daughter, where is the attention for this?” she asks. On March 24, 2015, Bhubaneswar-based builder Subrat Sahu was arrested on charges of raping a woman, the first breakthrough in the case. “That video dates back to 2010. This means, though the video was in circulation, no action was taken. Also, from the video it seems that this was not their first such act,” she says. "Seeing all the videos that have come in, it is very obvious that our criminal justice system has failed. We need to create a public friendly anonymous system where citizens can report such crimes within the Home Ministry. What are the cyber cells doing?" Sunitha adds. Sunitha had earlier submitted a list of recommendations to the Home Secretary which also included the setting up of a national sex offender’s directory which includes previously convicted sex offenders, something which is already in practice in many countries. (Sunitha Krishnan is also the founder of NGO Prajwala India, an Anti Trafficking Organization) Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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