After a boom in internet usage, stalking has moved online from the real world, to deal with online stalking the Mumbai police has revamped its school outreach programme, Police Didi, which will now teach children how to keep safe from harassment on social media.
According to the Hindustan Times, Police Didi campaign was introduced in 2016, after several cases of sexual harassment across the city cropped up at schools. The original campaign saw women police officers speak to school and college girls about “good touch and bad touch” and teach them how to speak up against it. Dr Rashmi Karandikar, deputy commissioner of police (port zone) told the leading daily, “It is no longer just about good touch and bad touch, but also an about good friend and bad friend on the Internet.”
The Mumbai police decided to revamp its Police Didi, after a Class 9 student from a Santacruz school was stalked and harassed on social media after she uploaded her selfie. The man, who was arrested in March after the student finally filed a police complaint, had created morphed images from her selfies, and then used them to threaten and sexually harass her online, reported the leading daily.
A police officer who investigated the case told the leading daily, “If the Santacruz student was aware of how to handle cyberstalking and harassment, she would not have had to go through the ordeal for so many months. She would have known to tell her parents right away and stop the harassment.”
After the Mumbai police started getting more and more cases of cyber harassment and stalking, the commissioner of police, Sanjay Barve, instructed his senior officers to incorporate cyber awareness in the Police Didi campaign.