Cyber Crimes Escalate in Manipur but Cyber Policing Slumbers on

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IMPHAL, May 9: Even as the state is gripped with shocking reports of different form of cyber-crimes especially against young girls and women, the ‘cyber-crime’ unit of Manipur has apparently remained stationary without proper infrastructure or man power.

An independent investigation conducted by IFP, revealed that since the enactment of the IT Act 2000, the concerned Ministry had instructed all the states to draft and submit their own guidelines (IT Act) as per the convenience of the State.

Subsequently, Manipur also drafted its own guideline in 2009 and submitted the same to the concerned Home department. However, the guidelines never saw the daylight with the higher authority failing to give the approval.

With strong instruction from the Home Ministry the state once again set in motion the process to establish a ‘cyber-crime unit’ since the end of 2013. Since then, hectic preparation has been made by the Police department.

When compared to the progress of 2009, it would not be wrong to say that a little progress was achieved this time. The state has managed to send police officers including top officers outside the state for training related to cyber-crime besides setting up of cyber cell unit in Imphal Police station.

But sadly after all the fuss, the cyber-crime unit has once again gone into the void with no one in the police department with any logical explanation on its status.

After a series of meeting held with some officials, the IFP team was advised to contact the officials of the cyber-crime unit, Imphal West, apparently the lone unit in the entire state.

However, the team was greeted by a locked door during office hour.

More interestingly, the Imphal Police station, considered the most crowded and busiest of all police stations in the state with different units under its roof, had no idea of the staff strength of the said unit.

But a senior police officer however informed that the office was functional while maintaining that the entire police station was in a mess in the wake of the election.

The team was later suggested to come after the whole election process is over. Reliable sources informed that as per the Ministry’s instruction it had asked to establish cyber-crime cell unit for all the districts.

In the absence of proper man power and technical know-how (pre requisite as the guideline of IT Act), the police reportedly had to run to recognised institutes to hire an expert, said a senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity.

Moreover, he revealed that despite the IT Act one cannot simply apply the act against a perpetrator if he or she is not authorised officials.

It has been learnt that most of the cases tried in the cyber related crime are under the Indian Penal Code. It may be noted that as per the IT Act 2000, with regards to the crime against woman which has become a talk of the town of late (invading the privacy or modesty of woman etc) the perpetrator is punishable with three years in jail or Rs three lakhs or both.

Considering the findings, it is worth questioning, are the victims of cyber-crime being denied proper justice.

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