New Delhi: On August 1 – four days before Varnika Kundu, the daughter of a senior IAS officer, was ‘stalked’ by Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala in Chandigarh – Kirron Kher, the BJP MP from Chandigarh, had urged the government to look at stalking as “violence against women” during zero hour in the Lok Sabha.
“Can you not penalise this stalker before he becomes a murderer? Do we only notice when the offence becomes fatal?… Female students stalked outside colleges, working women stalked after work. We need to see stalking as a precedent to assault. It needs to be regarded as violence against women,” Kher had said, according to a report in the Indian Express.
The BJP MP had also raised the issue of the rising number of complaints of stalking in Delhi and other states. She said, “Trivialising incidents of invasive stalking will actually make them more serious with time. It will be wiser and cognisant of us to realise the gravity of the rise in this crime and become units of assistance to every victim who is prey to this violence… A senior prosecutor of the city police pointed out that stalking cases are complex and often do not end in conviction, resulting in the accused coming out and posing a bigger threat.”
Vikas and his friend Ashish Kumar were arrested a day after ‘stalking’ Kundu in the middle of the night, but were later released on bail. When the accused were released within hours, Kher said, “As a mother, I can understand the sentiments of the victim’s family at this time. Whatever is legal and correct in this case, will be done,” reported the Indian Express.
In her police compliant, Kundu said that she had been stalked for almost 7 km over a 30-minute period around midnight on August 4 by Barala and Kumar.