While the alleged rape and murder of a minor in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, continues to elicit strong reactions from across society, questions are also being raised at the blatant violation of law by those revealing the identity and sharing the photograph of the minor victim especially on the social media. The Delhi High Court has already pulled up some media houses for revealing the identity of the minor victim, directing them to pay Rs 10 lakh each to the Jammu and Kashmir victim compensation fund. However, social media users have continued to share posts revealing the victim's identity.
The State women’s commission secretary Ramindri Mandrawal said, “Sharing of victim's photos is akin to further degradation. This trend has been on the rise for some time now. It is pathetic to see people sharing such terrifying things so widely. Such things also affect the society. While some may take it as informational, some may even derive perverse enjoyment. I feel that such use of the social media is creating havoc day by day. Also, this is illegal and a person sharing such type of information is also guilty,” she said.
Student Kunkun Bahuguna said, “I am active on the social media but I believe that revealing the identity of a rape victim or sharing pictures of the victim’s body or face in the media or social media is illegal. The way social media users are spreading such information following the Kathua incident is quite inappropriate. Some used it to target the government while others used it to focus more on religious differences than to express rage at the rape and murder. This led to a situation wherein the focus got shifted to arguments along political and religious lines rather than on seeking justice for the victim,” she opined.
However, some have a different opinion regarding the use of social media. Neuro-psychologist and CBSE counsellor, Dr Sona Kaushal Gupta said, “The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl is far scarier than other cases. This has shown what kind of a society we are making and living in. Sharing of victim’s images can also show us that psychopaths live around us. It also made people concerned about the safety of their children. There should be awareness among the people which the social media and mainstream media have done in this case. Sharing the identity and pictures of such victims is illegal but if we talk about the law there may be various things and angles to this. I think that not just the identity of the victim but also that of the perpetrators should be out in front of the public,” she opined.