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31 Dec 2016

Stalker made to pay price, to charity

Sreelakshmi Satheesh
TT, New Delhi, Dec. 30: The questions from the unknown caller flew thick and fast. "When can I meet you? What is your rate? Will Rs 3,000 do? Shall I book a hotel room?"
Initially, Sreelakshmi Satheesh, a motivational speaker and CEO of an educational consultancy firm in Kerala, was flummoxed. But she ultimately gave it back to the stalker by making him donate Rs 25,000 to a charity.
"I have achieved success through education. I have neither surrendered my dignity to anyone nor have I allowed anyone to dent my pride," Satheesh said.
There were days of repeated calls and text messages asking for her "rate". It came to a point when Satheesh had to keep her phone switched off. By then, her "rate" had touched Rs 25,000, she said. Shocked and disgusted, Satheesh decided to act.
She dialled one of the numbers from which she had got a call and threatened the man who answered. She told him she knew who he was and would go to the police. Terrified, he began to beg for forgiveness.
It wasn't tough extracting from the man how he had got her number. He shared the screenshot of a WhatsApp group chat where a member termed her a "super item" and posted her number.
"I knew this man. He was an acquaintance who would be extremely polite with me whenever I met him. The stalker was the regional secretary of the youth wing of a national party," Satheesh said, adding that it was then that she decided to file a police case.
Party workers who realised she was going to the cops began calling her, kept apologising on the stalker's behalf and pleaded with her to settle the matter out of court.
So, she demanded that he should be expelled from the party. That was yet to happen, she said, declining to identify the party.
When the man's father came to apologise on his son's behalf, Satheesh hit upon an ingenious idea: to make the stalker donate to a charity.
"He was an old man and I felt his pain. A legal fight would also take considerable time to end. That is when I decided to use a popular social media network to unmask the man's character," Satheesh said.
Instead of going to the police, she asked the man to donate her "rate" of Rs 25,000 to any charitable organisation and produce the bill as proof.
The stalker did so and sent her the receipt.
Sree Chitra Charity Home, a home for the destitute and infirm in Thiruvanathapuram, confirmed receiving Rs 25,000 as donation.
Under the Indian Penal Code, stalking a woman is punishable on first conviction with a jail term of up to three years plus a fine. On a second or subsequent conviction, the jail term could extend upto five years plus a fine.

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