Here's how Maharashtra Police will crack down on online sexual predators

Aug 06, 2018, 16:32 IST | Anamika Gharat

New online portal will facilitate complainants to directly lodge a complaint on it, mentioning all technical evidence, and the case will be taken care of by the state cyber crime team

Here's how Maharashtra Police will crack down on online sexual predators
The cyber crime team will also monitor hashtags used by people to upload and search for content related to sexual abuse and will block the search and circulation of those videos. Representation pic

To crack down on rape and molestation videos being circulated on the Internet and bring the culprits shown in them to book, the Maharashtra cyber police will start an online portal within the next 15 days to register complaints of such content. The portal, which was initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, called Cyber Crime Prevention of Women and Child (CCPWC), has already been started on a trial basis in a few states, including Maharashtra. In the next few days, it will be open to the public.

Inspector General of Maharashtra cyber crime, Brijesh Singh said, "Our team has been working hard on this portal that we'd started on August 1 on a trial basis. It will focus on complaints related to sexual abuse of women and children. As of now, it would respond to complaints, but in the future, we would use technology to identify and remove such content. Within the next few days, we will open this to the public."

Following SC order
This move comes after a 2017 order by the Supreme Court (SC), under which the Central government had to set up an online portal and hotline to allow people to anonymously report offenders. That decision came after SC received a letter, along with a pen drive containing two rape videos, in 2015 from Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, addressed to then CJI H L Dattu. The letter demanded that the Ministry of Home Affairs tie-up with messaging systems and websites to prevent such videos from being uploaded. It also appealed to the states to introduce special training when it came to cyber crime issues. After SC's order, the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi announced the government will develop an online 'Central Reporting Mechanism' dedicated to complaints regarding cyber crime against women and children.

State cyber team monitors
Until now, the complainant had to register the case with the police, which would then send it to the cyber crime branch, that has limited staff to handle these cases. With the start of this portal, anyone can directly lodge a complaint on it, mentioning all technical evidence, and the case will be taken care of by the state cyber crime team, who will guide the related police station for further investigation and monitor the case. This initiative will start in the entire country within the next few days. An officer from the state cyber crime team who is working on the portal said, "Presently, the process goes through the police, who report the matter to the cyber cell. But through this portal, we'll start getting complaints directly, and a special team dedicated for this portal will try to resolve the matter within 24 hours."

Report directly
"So, the person just needs to upload the information and technical content on the portal, mentioning the complainant's identity if possible, number, place and time of incident, and if they have any further details, they can add those too. These days, people just forward videos related to child and women sexual harassment on WhatsApp or Facebook, because of which, most of the time the identity of the victim gets revealed. But now, with the help of this portal, people can report the matter directly to cyber police," the officer added. The officer said the cyber crime team will also monitor hashtags used by people to upload and search for this content and will block the search and circulation of these videos.

Also read: Mumbai Crime: 5 circulating child porn videos held, more arrests likely

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