One MMS, too many

As in the film Love, Sex aur Dhoka, new age crime among youngsters has become a Virtual Reality
Madhuri Balodi Delhi 

Priyanka,20, an engineer with a private firm, falls in love with Raman, who works with a multinational in Delhi. It was Yahoo Messenger, a web-based chat service, where Priyanka and Raman used to meet and chat. Gradually, after this cyber relationship, they became physically intimate.

Priyanka, like any other small-town girl, started weaving dreams of a happy married life. However, the relationship took a criminal turn when Raman started blackmailing her. He had apparently filmed both of them during their private moments. Raman started demanding money. She obliged, but he betrayed her and spread the video through internet and MMS (Multi Media Messaging Service). Priyanka was shattered.     

The MMS cases are multiplying in urban India. Recently, a 23-year-old MBA girl from Noida did a full striptease on camera for her boyfriend who later hacked into her account and transferred it to his friends. Another young MNC executive actually blackmailed his wife with an MMS clip, and spread it around.

"This is a classic case of immature girls falling prey to the gross misuse of technology. These incidents are common amongst the young these days," said Sanjay Chugh, a psychiatrist.  

Six year ago, the city was rocked by what is called the 'DPS MMS case' where a girl student was filmed by her boyfriend while they were having sex. The MMS spread like wildfire and the girl was hurriedly sent abroad by her parents. 

"Youngsters like experimenting with new things and love to break the rules but they are not aware of the consequences. I reckon, family dynamics pay a vital role which is absent in some cases," stated Dr Samir Parikh, a psychiatrist at Max Hospital.
Such cases are on the rise in smaller towns like Dehradun which were otherwise reckoned as safe for girls. 'Prem Nagar Kaand', the latest MMS doing the rounds, is believed to have been made by a student of a college in the Prem Nagar area. It was shot in 2006 and no action was taken as nobody registered a complaint.

Another case came to light in Srinagar (Uttarakhand) when an undergraduate student of Garhwal University complained that a local shopkeeper had filmed her and was asking her for money. The alleged culprit, Faizal, alias Lucky, said that he had filmed the girl with her consent and that she was a friend.   

Avdhash Kaushal, Chairperson of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), a Dehradun-based NGO, said, "MMS scandals have certainly increased in Dehradun in the last couple of years. The city is also an educational hub and, being a small place, it is often believed that it is easy to get off, which is not generally true. Rapid rise in tourism could be another reason."

Lately, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee have raised these issues. The script of Dev D revolves around a school MMS incident whereas LSD showcased the abuse of technology and the modus operandi of new age crime.

Interestingly, India's homebred sex sites like Debonairblog and fsiblog rank highly among voyeurs. As per Alexa, a web-stat company, Debonairblog.com occupies 50th position and fsiblog.com is ranked 144th in terms of traffic among all websites viewed in India. On a global scale these websites were ranked at 595 and 1,748 respectively. 

While sex as adult entertainment is accepted in some countries - the US has porn companies listed on the stock exchange - social taboo, traditional values and legal barriers associated with filming sex in India ensure that such videos are made shabbily and surreptitiously, almost always involving unsuspecting girls or couples.

"Cyber-criminals are not hardcore criminals and don't have any criminal background. They are generally first-timers who do it under peer-group influence or to fulfill their expensive demands," says Sube Ram Yadav, ACP, Narcotics and Crime Branch, Delhi Police.

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: SEPTEMBER 2010

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