Guwahati: When people talk about cybercrimes, it is India’s biggest cities that often hog the lion’s share of the limelight. Often, it is assumed, rather wrongly, that such crimes are only a big city problem. However, as anyone familiar with data released by the National Crime Records Bureau knows, Assam and cybercrime are a match made in crime heaven. A 2021 report showed that as per the NCRB data, cybercrime grew 12 per cent in India last year to touch 49,708 cases. Among states with at least 1,000 cases, Telangana, with 87 per cent and Gujarat, with 64 per cent, saw the most severe rise.
Assam came third with 58 per cent growth.
Interestingly, in 2023, Assam reported a decline in cybercrime cases as 1,781 were reported in 2022, then Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said in January. In 2021, the state had reported 4,846 cybercrime cases, which had come down to 1,781 last year.
However, a recent case from Jorhat has once again exposed the ugly side of how cyber crimes are not just ruining youths but also families and even leading to death due to the fear of societal shame.
On May 1, Sanjana (name changed) filed an FIR at a police station, alleging that her objectionable videos had been leaked online without her consent. On first impressions, it seemed like this was yet another case when a man had coerced a girl into making videos and the police decided to proceed accordingly. However, the case turned on its head on May 5, when one of Sanjana’s videos surfaced online. However, it was not with the person she had accused on May 1. Instead, it was with a 72-year-old senior citizen, who belonged to the girl’s village, and who, afraid of the consequences and the shame, died by suicide on May 5.
The police soon found two men at the centre of the crimes: Kishalay Sharma, a student of JB Commerce College and a resident of Tinsukia, and Abhishek Kashyap, a student of CKB College and a resident of Jorhat.
To make matters more murky, Abhishek is a cousin of Sanjana, and she has informed the police that she was in a relationship with both men; however, Abhishek is alleged to be the kingpin.
According to police officials investigating the matter, Sanjana and Abhishek started recording their intimate videos and uploading them on international porn sites. The two men, during their interrogation, said they used to make the videos for fun and with consent. The girl has also acknowledged the same and added that she became very worried after she came to know her videos had surfaced on Indian porn sites also.
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Police investigating the matter said they found a plethora of explicit materials on Abhishek’s laptop in the form of videos or stories, created and consumed for the purpose of sexual arousal.
“The videos were shared on several online sites and apps. He had also recorded obscene videos of his ex-girlfriends and uploaded them too,” a police official investigating the matter said.
Abhishek was making thousands of rupees every month, the police said, adding that they are waiting for more information to understand how he was receiving the money and how many videos he had uploaded until now.
“The girl was promised her videos won’t be surfacing on any Indian sites, and will be uploaded only to foreign sites, which are not accessible in India. But unfortunately, that didn’t happen, which led her to lodge an FIR for rape and assault of criminal force with intent to outrage one’s modesty. However, we have taken her into custody for abetment to suicide also,” the police officer added.
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