Vrindavan, 2016.08.25 (Indian Express) : The problem of “morphed” pictures posted on-line or sent through WhatsApp or Instagram is on the rise in India. The problem is a fairly new one, and police are not sure how to handle the cases. When it happened in Vrindavan, the police did not not even register the case or start investigating until local social activist Laxmi Gautam got involved.
On August 13, Shyam Chaudhary, a priest from Vrindavan, received more than 50 photoshopped images of teenage girls from Vrindavan and other parts of the country on WhatsApp. The post maliciously identified the girls as prostitutes, and included their names, addresses and the “rates” charged by them.
When the priest called up the number from which the photographs had been sent, it was found to be switched off. Chaudhary then called a friend in Vrindavan, whose daughter was featured in the photographs, in which photos of the girls’ faces had been attached to nude torsos.
“Shyam Chaudhary came to me and showed the pictures. I already knew that some pictures of my daughter, a graduation student, had been altered by an unknown man. But I was shocked to see how he had sent the pictures with the ‘rates’ charged,” said the girl’s father.
The girl, who is under depression, has stopped going to college since she heard about the photoshopped pictures. Her father said he had lodged a complaint with the Vrindavan and Mathura police around nine months ago but had not received any response.
“My son and I had received the morphed pictures of my daughter on WhatsApp in November last year. I contacted the Vrindavan Kotwali police station, where we were told to contact the cyber cell. When we went to the cyber cell, we were asked to get permission from the SSP,” he said.
“Even after making several rounds of the SSP office, my complaint was not heard. I stopped pursuing the matter as I was tired of the callous approach of the policemen,” he added.
The family then contacted Vrindavan-based social activist, Laxmi Gautam. “Of the 50-plus pictures shared on WhatsApp, 35 were of teenage girls and women from Vrindavan… Many families have refused to take up the matter as it involves young girls. Most of the victims have stopped going out in public and are in a state of depression,” she said.
“But many parents accompanied me to the police on Tuesday… Nine families met Mathura SP (City) Alok Priyardashi and lodged their complaints in the evening,” said Gautam.
When contacted, Mathura SSP Babloo Kumar said he has ordered that an FIR be lodged into the matter.