An 81-year-old sketch artist was arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida for the alleged ‘digital’ rape of a 17 year-old girl over a period of more than seven years. A police spokesperson was quoted by news agency PTI as saying that the man is accused of digital rape of a 17-year-old girl over the last seven years.
The term ‘digital rape’ means forced sex or penetration with a woman or girl using fingers or toes. Digital rape did not fall under the ambit of rape until December 2012. However, after the Nirbhaya gang rape, the classification of a sexual offence as ‘digital rape’ took place in India, which led to reforms in the country’s criminal laws to increase the ambit of crimes perceived as ‘rape’.
According to police, the victim lives with her guardian, who has been a friend of the accused for around 20 years now. The girl was initially scared to lodge a complaint but then she started recording the suspect’s sexual advances and collected sizeable evidence. She narrated her ordeal to the guardian, who then approached the police to lodge a complaint.
The suspect, an artist-cum-teacher, was arrested by officials of the local Sector 39 police station on Sunday. An FIR was lodged against him under Indian Penal Code Sections 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation). Rajiv Kumar, Sector 39 SHO, told PTI, “The girl lives here with her guardian, who has been a friend of the accused for around 20 years now. The guardian had lodged a complaint in the case.”
Following his arrest, the accused was presented in a local court and he has been sent to 14 days judicial custody, the officer added. If someone is accused of digital rape in India, the offenders are now booked under the much wider IPC section 376 (rape). But the convictions in cases of digital rape still remains relatively low in the country.