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4 held for obscene messages, life threat to Barkha Dutt

4 held for obscene messages, life threat to Barkha Dutt
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NEW DELHI: Delhi Police's cyber crime cell has arrested four men –three from Delhi and one from Gujarat's Surat –in connection with an FIR filed by journalist Barkha Dutt, after she faced trolling and harassment on social media and via text. On February 21, Dutt had registered an FIR with the cyber cell stating that she was receiving threatening phone calls, messages, WhatsApp calls and obscene pictures from unknown people.

Dutt was so infuriated after her number was shared on social media which led to online assault "I appear to have been made a victim of some fake news propaganda and my number has been shared on all social media platforms. I have been sent nude pictures and sexually abusive text messages. I fear for my well-being, security and life as this is a coordinated assault by a violent mob," she stated in her FIR.

Dutt thanked police for the arrests made but also added that more needs to be done to combat online threat. "Thanks for four arrests made for sexual abuse, death threat, stalking, nude picture and violence, I would like to underline, you are yet to act against at least 10 other grave offenders. My statement before the magistrate is on record. Please Act," she said.

An FIR was registered under IPC sections 354-D (stalking), 506 (threatening), 507 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and sections 67 and 67-A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act) of the IT Act. A senior officer said: "A team was formed and police, using technical surveillance, arrested the men, identified as Rajiv Sharma (23), Hemraj Kumar (31) and Aditya Kumar (34) from Delhi and Shabbir Gurfan Pinjari (45), a resident of Surat."

The investigation revealed that Sharma is pursuing his graduation through distance education from a private university, Aditya works with a private firm as a sales executive while Hemraj is a chef in a private hotel and all three were booked for sending objectionable text messages and have been granted bail. Pinjari, who works in a butcher shop, was booked for sending an obscene photograph and has been remanded in 14-day judicial custody. "Pinjari allegedly sent obscene photos, while others sent abusive messages," an officer said. Police are now trying to ascertain who shared the journalist's number online.

On February 19, the National Commission for Women (NCW) had asked Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik to initiate a speedy investigation into the matter. Dutt had also tweeted to the Delhi Police, apprising them of the matter. "I had close to 1,000 abusive messages and calls in a coordinated and violent mob attack. These included a message to shoot me, a nude photo, many sexually abusive messages. I outed the men who did this," she had tweeted.

In recent past, journalist Abhisar Sharma had also complained to the police in Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai about threats made to him and his family. Later, the Madhya Pradesh Police traced two men who had sent him abusive messages, threatening him and his family with rape and murder.

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