Jalandhar: Massive protests erupted in Chandigarh University, a private varsity situated in Punjab’s Mohali district, on Saturday night (September 17) after a student allegedly leaked ‘objectionable’ videos of her fellow hostel mates to a man in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
In a press briefing on Sunday afternoon, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Mohali, Vivek Soni said that the accused woman student had been arrested and a first information report under Section 66(E) of IT Act, 2000 and Section 354-C of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against her.
The police have also arrested 23-year-old Sunny Mehta, the accused person from Shimla.
The SSP also clarified that reports of some students attempting suicide were false. “Several social media posts were doing the rounds that some women had attempted suicide. I want to clarify that no such suicide attempt incident took place on the varsity premises. A student fell unconscious after this incident, but that too due to anxiety. She was rushed to the hospital. Some other women students were feeling uneasy but they were taken care of,” he said.
Later in the day, additional director general of police (ADGP), community and women affairs, Gurpreet Kaur Deo, in her address to the media said that as per preliminary investigation, the accused woman had sent her own video to her boyfriend.
“We have not found any video of other women students on the mobile phone of the accused. The accused woman was sending her personal videos to her boyfriend in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. We have sent our police teams to arrest her male counterpart from Shimla,” she said.
The ADGP also said that some women students have claimed that videos were being recorded from the space below the bathroom doors. They have also claimed a possibility of hidden cameras inside the bathrooms. And, these claims are being investigated by the police, she said.
According to sources, the police have formed a special investigation team headed by a senior IPS officer to probe the allegations of students.
“The accused woman’s mobile phone is in the possession of the state cyber crime team for forensic checking,” she added.
Late on Saturday night, some women students had claimed that the accused had recorded private videos of her fellow hostel mates, which led to a ruckus in the hostel premises.
In a series of viral videos, which The Wire has also seen, the hostel warden is seen questioning the accused girl about the video. The accused girl can be seen fumbling for words and failing to give a satisfactory reply, which reportedly led to protests on the campus.
High-level probe ordered
Ordering a high-level probe into the incident, Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday, September 18 said that “the daughters are our dignity and pride and any such incident is highly condemnable.”
In a press statement, the chief minister said, “I have asked the Mohali district administration to undertake an in-depth inquiry into the incident. Anyone found guilty will not be spared and severest of severe action will be taken against the perpetrators of this heinous crime.”
The chief minister also urged people to avoid getting swayed away by “rumours” in this case. He also warned that strict action will be taken against those spreading false information in this sensitive matter.
In a tweet in Hindi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal termed the incident as “serious and shameful”, and added that “all the culprits involved in this [incident] will get the harshest punishment.”
चंडीगढ़ यूनिवर्सिटी में एक लड़की ने कई छात्राओं के आपत्तिजनक वीडियो रिकॉर्ड करके Viral किए हैं। ये बेहद संगीन और शर्मनाक है। इसमें शामिल सभी दोषियों को कड़ी से कड़ी सजा मिलेगी। पीड़ित बेटियाँ हिम्मत रखें। हम सब आपके साथ हैं। सभी संयम से काम लें।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 18, 2022
Punjab higher education minister, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, also tweeted saying that strict action will be taken against the culprits.
2/2 I assure justice to University students especially girls. The DC Mohali and SSP have been ordered to conduct a thorough enquiry into the entire incident. Guilty would not be spared.
— Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (@meet_hayer) September 18, 2022
Earlier, Punjab State Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati took cognisance of the issue and urged students to remain calm, as the police was investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh University’s pro-chancellor R.S. Bawa said, “There are rumours that seven women have attempted suicide, whereas no woman has taken any such step. No woman has been admitted to the hospital [in connection with the incident].”
“There is another rumour circulating through the media that 60 objectionable MMS of students have been found, which is totally ‘false’ and ‘baseless’. During the preliminary investigation conducted by the university, no objectionable videos have been found, except a personal video shot by a woman which was shared by herself to her boyfriend.”
Featured image: A videograb of students protesting at Chandigarh university. Photo: Twitter
This article was first published on The Wire.