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Arsenals of Folly

Arsenals of Folly

By Richard Rhodes

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Cellphones Used to Find Rapists in India

Posted on Aug 27, 2013
ramesh_lalwani (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Two men protest rape in India.

When a magazine intern went to take photographs of the derelict Shakti Mills compound in Mumbai on Aug. 22, five men gang raped her and recorded the atrocity with videos and photos on their phones. After forcing her to clean up after their crime, they threatened to publish the media they’d collected if she accused them. This victim, however, refused to remain silent. Instead she reported the heinous acts to the police, and, by tracing their SIM cards, the men were found by the authorities. The Daily Dot explains how one tried to evade arrest:

One suspect, 18-year-old Vijay Jadhav, switched off his phone in an attempt to evade capture, but once he turned it back on for a moment, he was located. He had been hiding for days in a friend’s porno-video parlor. He had fallen asleep after watching two pornographic films. He was in the middle of the third.

“We traced his mobile location and, with the help of informers, zeroed in on him. However, when we reached the video parlour, we found he had destroyed his SIM card,” an officer told the Financial Express.

Three of the accused, Jadhav, Chand Bahu Sattar Sheikh, and Mohammed Qasim Hafiz Shaikh, have criminal records; none are minors. All five, including the remaining suspects, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman Khan, are all natives of Mumbai, putting a rest to the rumor that they were “migrants” and therefore their actions were out of the ordinary for the city. (That is, no one could blame the attack on one specific and foreign ethnic or cultural group.) India remains a country where rape is common and where most assaults remain unreported.

It seems this time, digital data tracking was used for good.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi


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