Mumbai: The incessant ringing of her cellphone in the dead of the night woke up Reema (name changed) from her deep slumber. The Chembur resident, who works as an executive with a private firm, answered the phone, only to hear the maniacal laughter of aman. A few days later, Reema received an obscene text message from the same number. To make matters worse, Reema's two female flatmates also started receiving vulgar SMSes from the same number. They then approached the police. "The man told us the cops will never find him as he had procured six SIM cards using fake documents," said Reema.The cops traced the number to a Goregaon man and learnt that he was unaware that his papers had been used to obtain the SIM card.
Reema and her flatmates are not alone. Many women are still waiting for the perverts, who harassed them through obscene SMSes and emails, to be brought to justice. Investigators, too, admit that very rarely do such persons get caught. "Mobile service providers do not thoroughly check documents while giving out SIM cards. This negligent approach helps the perverts get away with their crime," said an officer.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Mumbai has the maximum number of registered cases of sexual harassment or obscenity through SMS, MMS or email. Between 2007 and 2012 (till August), 84 such cases were registered in the city. When it comes to states, Maharashtra, too, doesn't fare better. The NCRB data shows Maharashtra has the third highest number of such cases (169) registered in the country in the same period.
JCP (crime) Himanshu Roy said, "We will take up the matter with the information technology ministry so that proper action is taken against erring service providers."
A spokesperson of a leading telecom operator said the cops were trying to pass the buck by blaming operators. Times View: Crack the whip B oth service providers and cops need to be more proactive when it comes to helping victims of online/mobile sexual harassment. The trauma that the victim goes through should not be compounded by official apathy and the gloves should be off while dealing with these predators. They are a real enough menace though they may be operating in the virtual world.