Kerala is not unused to cyber bullying. But when a photograph posted online is morphed, when obscene comments are made against a woman on social media, the victims are often unsure of what to do with it. There are multiple agencies to approach, including a police station or a cyber cell located in every district. But there has not been an exclusive place only to address issues of cyber harassment. 'Aparajitha is Online', an initiative by the Kerala Police, was launched several months ago, as a platform to report cybercrimes against women. The initiative is under the charge of the Superintendent of Police, Women's Cell.
Women can forward their complaints, together with whatever evidence they have â€” screenshots and links etc., â€” to Aparajitha's email and it will be taken up by police personnel.
"Aparajitha is Online"- A digital mechanism for grievance redressal of online based harassment of women and girls
Complaints to be forwarded to the Email : firstname.lastname@example.org#keralapolice #AparajithaisOnline #onlinesafetyforwomenandgirls pic.twitter.com/nsvqo45KsYâ€” Kerala Police (@TheKeralaPolice) April 2, 2021
"We have trained a couple of women personnel at every police station to handle these complaints. The administrative management of Aparajitha is done by the office of the SP, Womenâ€™s Cell. Based on the gravity of the petition we decide whom to send it to for investigation â€“ whether it should be looked into at the Womenâ€™s Cell or forwarded to the particular district [police station]. If it is forwarded to a police station, these trained women personnel will look into the petition. They are expected to handle it with more sensitivity. Not that the other officials are not sensitive. But these women get very specific training," says IPS officer Merin Joseph, who holds additional charge as SP of Women's Cell.
"Women have said that they don't know where to send their complaint. Often cyber SIs are not bound by jurisdiction. It could be happening in any part of the state," she says.
The main idea of Aparajitha is to avoid cases of cybercrime against women getting mixed up with the multiple number of other petitions and grievances, she says.
Since she took over the role two months ago, 14 petitions have come to Aparajitha. "It is not a bad number considering we haven't given out much publicity yet. We plan to start a social media awareness campaign soon and post relevant information on the police website, on how to proceed in the matter."
Complaints to Aparajitha can be forwarded to the email email@example.com.