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This article is written by Heena Joshi, Team LawSikho.

How does it start, and how can you stop it? 

Do you really think you can stop someone from blackmailing, do you? Well, you can file a complaint against it, you can send that person to jail as well but is this the real solution? Here my question is from a different angle, I want blackmailing free India, is it possible? You might say no, and if your answer is no then I am giving answer for the first question and my answer is no you can never stop someone from blackmailing you. Before moving further let me first share with you the motive and main question covered in this article. I am writing this article to share my overall experience in everything related to blackmailing. I will cover the many questions in this article related to blackmailing, how does the blackmailing game start? What can be the motive of a blackmailer, how can you save yourself and your family members from this blackmailing game? Why did these blackmailers succeed in their task and grab money from you? Why do you feel fear after threat calls? Why does every human believe that blackmailers can harm them? And last but not least how we can have a blackmailing free India? Also, I will share what Indian laws say on Blackmailing? So, let’s begin with it.

Introduction

Well we all are aware of what is blackmailing? It is the game of emotional fear or fear of reputation, or fear of losing something, or fear of not having the same life as it was previously. Right Or not? That is why I name it “Blackmailing- a dirty game of fear”. Actually, it is a game of distractions and fear both. We all face distraction, we get distracted to try something new in our lives, we all want to connect with new people in our lives, we want to attract, we want peace, we want love and for that, search for love and valuable relationship we download dating apps, scroll social media, talk to the unknown and what not. That is why I thought of asking one question here and that is, is it the right way to search friendship, relationships or hookups on social media where reality is virtual? Ask yourself do you search for real friendship and connection through your WIFI connection? We are lacking on real connectivity, the real innocence of love, in today’s era, innocence is under doubt we can’t trust someone easily by just connecting them virtually, no matter for what intention we are connecting them, we have to accept that truth once you accept this you are 100% safe from any threat or any blackmailing.

How does this blackmailing game start? 

Don’t expect from me that here I will say that “it will start when the blackmailer starts blackmailing you” No, it does not start from here, it starts when you download stupid dating apps like mingle, tinder, azar, and you are ready to do sexting with the unknown, this is where the crime starts. I am not saying don’t talk to the unknown, but there is a need for safe and secure social media platforms, where users are verified, and it’s hard to say but members who are using dating apps are mostly not verified, most of the identities are fake. As an advocate I almost dealt with thirty blackmailing cases and in all 30 cases crime happened while using dating websites. I mostly find blackmailing cases where it is directly or indirectly connected to love affairs, love relationships, couples, friends with benefits or between friends or with the unknown whom you just showed your private parts, etc. I personally feel blackmailing happens in these types of relationships only. You might find me wrong here but I am just sharing my experience here. We need to be very careful while choosing our relationships or doing private talks with someone unknown. I feel there is a need to ask questions to your own self here

Let’s jump to the seriousness of this Blackmailing game 

Police and the law does not take blackmailing seriously until it turned on to a dirty game or grievous hurt if I read the language of section 506 IPC. but it is way more serious even if does not cause any physical pain. Physical pain can be cured but what about that mental helplessness and shame to share it with anyone. Can you calculate the fear of religious girl whose family is strict, who wear hijab all the time, but the feeling of dying inside is unbearable, because of continuous blackmailing texts. Sometime innocent people face blackmailing threats even without their any mistake. I know previously I shared that crime starts when you feel intent to talk on dating sites and download it, but this is not the case every time.

Lets discuss one case here its about a Muslim girl from a very strict family. This was a sensitive case, and girl was searching on google for help against blackmailing, she came to know about Lawsikho’s initiative “Coalition Against Online blackmailing and revenge porn”, she contacted me through mobile number which was shared for help related to blackmailing and revenge porn, this initiative I guess started first time in India where a normal girl can take legal help so easily. She trusted us and shared her sensitive case which was about blackmailing and extortion where the girl was also worried about her strict nature of family, so she was like avoiding to file any complaint or any legal action where she shared if her family get to know that she is getting blackmailed and her normal pics are getting misused by someone on Instagram they will kill her, stop her to study and married her off. She was so scared that she even gave 5000/- to someone to delete her fake Instagram account, but this become more complicated as the guy whom she gave 5000/- to delete account were asking and blackmailing her for more more money and gave her threat that if she failed to give her 15000/- more he will make more dirty accounts with her name and pics.

Although there was nothing related to nudity in pics. They were normal smiling pics but still bad words like “sexy”, “hot”, “sex chat” were using and in profile and her pic was uploaded as profile picture. She was so scared and asked me every time “mam please I don’t want to involve my parents. I was questioning myself “will I be able to help this girl without harming her reputation in front of her family? Well, I was not sure but our team was looking for answers and we found out that we can file a cyber complaint even without giving any details of the victim. I am thankful to Advocate Srajan Sinha. He guided us that we can file a complaint on an anonymous option and there we don’t have to give any information about the girl. I was like brilliant, let’s do it. So, we filed and next day an inspector from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India called us and we were scared again because we don’t want to inform the girl’s family. Inspector also assured us that the girl is an adult and she can file and fight her case on her own and the police will never force the victim to call her parents. This does not end here.

On 16/06/2021 we came to know that a blackmailer got arrested, our team was happy like its festival. I know it sounds funny but yes, it’s true. Victim also got her money back which she gave to the blackmailer. While dealing with this case I realise we as normal people are scared of our police, which is our guardian, still we are not confident about our police, we are not confident on our legal system and its delayed justice. But here I will say never loose hope not everywhere but mostly our legal system is getting better and it will be better, one more thing I will say don’t be scared if you are right, don’t feel that it will be worthless if you take legal action, right action should be taken even if u feel its worthless.

Your Fear is imaginary

I know it’s a fearful situation, when someone or your ex-boyfriend/ girlfriend is threatening you that he may upload your nude pics on social media, or on social media friends or forward to your parents, this is the only fear right? Say it you already told your parents, and your parents are with you, and they love you, do whatever you want. Try it! You may feel little courage in you and after that immediately file a cyber complaint or go to the nearest police station and file F.I.R, simply. Still if you feel you don’t want to do it you can connect us, through mobile number – 9650716993 (only WhatsApp), or an email ID – [email protected]

How we can have blackmailing free India or crime free India : We need to be fearless; females need to be fearless. Remember you have not done any crime even if you did sext, you trusted someone in relationship, no not at all, but blackmailing is a serious crime, and most common in India, because an average man doesn’t take law seriously, but someone has to take the call and take help from the legal system, no matter how much it delayed it will always protect you. Trust your legal system.

Let’s discuss, what law speaks on blackmailing 

I think it’s important to discuss so that you understand how our penal code is so strict on such issues. Section 463, 465,471 talks about making of false document related to someone, we can consider fake accounts as fake documents and its punishment is almost 5 years in our Indian penal code, then comes section 509 which talks about harming the modesty of women, it could be anyway, a public statement or typing wrong words on her profile. Then comes section 503 which is criminal intimidation, and its punishment is given under section 506 IPC, section 384 where punishment for extortion is 3 years, after section 354D- which discusses stalking as an offence. Our penal law also shows seriousness on children related offences where child is a victim assault and pornography. Defamation Act 2013, Theft Act, 1968 can also be included to understand our legal system is taking all necessary actions to keep its people safe and secure, it’s just us who don’t trust our legal system and are afraid to take action.

Conclusion

In this article I shared my view on looking at a problem, and I want to say if you look for solutions you will get it, else our team which I would love to name as India’s free legal cell will always be working and making others to work and help its people. Fear is the main problem, obviously you can’t control or stop someone from blackmailing you, but you can always think wisely and feel powerful to overcome this fear of shame. Last but not the least I would love to share that our Lawsikho team is not only working on Blackmailing and revenge porn, but also on Covid frauds and animal defense. So if you have any complaint related to that you can always reach out to us on our email – [email protected] or you can connect me through WhatsApp – 9650716993


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