In what is emerging as a disturbing trend, police say incidents of rape accused taking video clips/photographs of their victims has increased significantly in the last one year. This is usually done in order to blackmail the victims.
According to figures given out by the Maharashtra Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), more than 50% of the gadgets they received in 2011 for forensic testing had clippings/photographs taken by such accused. A majority of these gadgets are mobile phones.
“In a year we receive approximately 350 gadgets from across the state that may have been used in any crime to extract evidence. In 2011, more than 50% — at least 175 — of these gadgets had obscene clippings/photographs of victims,” according to an FSL official who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
He added: “There has been a gradual rise in such cases over the past three years. Hardly 25% of the cases that we received in 2009 would involve retrieving obscene videos. In 2010, such cases rose by approximately 10%.”
Even in cases of cyber crime, the number of cases relating to obscene MMS/email have doubled from nine in 2010 to 19 in 2011.
Senior inspector of Bhandup police Srirang Nadgouda said: “There are two main reasons why such clips are taken. Firstly, the persons can use it to blackmail the victim ensuring that she does not tell anyone about the incident. The second reason is psychological.”
Elaborating on the psychological aspect, Dr Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist, said: “In these cases the accused want to witness the crime again and feel powerful. Since the video belongs to the accused and is accessible any time, they use it to stimulate themselves and get vicarious pleasure out of it.”
Vijay Raghavan, associate professor with the Centre for Criminology and Justice at TISS added, “On occasions a person may win the victim’s trust by giving false promises of marriage and maintain physical relations and film her. Later he may threaten to make the clip public and blackmail her.”