Sumit Shankar was an average schoolgoing teenager to his family, friends and teachers alike. Well-behaved, average in studies and generally friendly. Like many other urban teenagers these days, this 16-year-old son of a Delhi-based air force officer was addicted to the Internet, spending long hours trawling the World Wide Web and frequenting the busy chatrooms that proliferate there.
But one day last month, unknown to his family and friends, Sumit's obsession with the net took a decisive turn. He decided to use it to fool around with the girls in his class and teachers. Surfing overtime on the net at home, he carefully hosted a pornographic website listing imaginary physical attributes and sexual 'preferences' of girls and teachers in his school. He chose to call it amazing-gents.8m.net, which gave little hint of what was in store. Then he boasted about it to his friends, and the 'prank' turned serious. A girl's parent complained to the cops, and last week, Sumit landed up in a juvenile remand home; the first arrest for cyberporn in India. Four debate-filled days later, amidst reports that he'd floated the website to get even with friends who teased him for a skin condition, Sumit was released on bail and rusticated from the prominent Delhi school he went to.