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23 Jan 2021, Edition - 2020, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Stalkers accosting young women, a growing social menace?

U Bharath

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In the olden days, men used to help out their former lady-lovers when they were in a crisis but nowadays young women are murdered for rejecting love.

Not only has the gory, daylight murder of Swathi, the 24-year-old techie, at Nungambakkam railway station in the early hours of June 24, shaken the collective psyche of the nation as a whole but it has also brought to the fore many unanswered questions including women’s safety, the fickle nature of youthful romantic flings and how the young lot more often than not mishandle failures and rejections in their lives.

Swathi’s gruesome murder also set a bad precedent with a number of copycat murders and brutality in the past six months cutting short the lives of young women in their prime. It is worrisome that these young women who fell to the wrath of their scorned psychotic lovers were relentlessly stalked, targeted before they were murdered.

While Naveena, a school girl in Villupuram, was set alight by her scorned lover Senthil in August, a school teacher in Thoothukudi was hacked to death by a psychotic youth. We also heard the news of Sonali, an engineering student in Karur, who was bludgeoned to death in her classroom by Senthil, her senior in college, and Dhanya who fell to her stalker’s psychosis in Coimbatore.

“Intense emotions and inexplicable behaviour are the hallmarks of these young offenders who have anti-social and psychopathic tendencies embedded in them. Pursuit characteristics are seen in most of the cases. These stalkers victimise young women when their amorous advances are not reciprocated or are rejected. And this growing tendency of avenging the innocent girls by unleashing fatal violence on them is a big public health concern too, which is to be addressed by the society at large,” said Y Arul Prakash, HOD, Department of Psychiatry of Kanyakumari Medical College.

“Anti-social characteristics are seen in these stalkers, who have taken the reciprocity of their expressed love for granted. These copycat murderers are a bane to society. A value-based society should come out with drastic measures to check this sort of violence on young women,” feel sociologists, who have been watching the gruesome murders.

“In the olden days, men used to help out their former lady-lovers when they were in a crisis but nowadays young women are murdered for rejecting love. This indicates the fall in the social and moral fabric of our society,” they aver.

“These criminal tendencies are the manifestation of the frustration of modern day youth; some of them lack the capacity to handle failure. The genetic, familial and educational backgrounds play a vital role in the makeup of an individual’s character,” say socialists and activists.

“Indians have a very strong and rooted value-based family system and when this kind of violence takes a toll on young women, we are forced to doubt our current upbringing standards. We as a society have to wake up and do something drastic to check this growing tendency of killing young women for no fault of theirs,” said Meganathan, a Retired Judge.

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