- Massive protests broke out in Chandigarh university over a hosteller recording 'obscene' videos
- Police nabbed two in the case - the girl hosteller, and her boyfriend from Shimla
- University said allegations "false and baseless"; students said CU is 'suppressing facts'
Chandigarh University row | Massive protests broke out at Chandigarh University Saturday night, which continued Sunday over allegations that objectionable videos of several women students were recorded by a hosteller. Students, parents and youth of the city, fearing for their own 'safety' on campus, took to the streets of campus to protest against the college administration.
After a preliminary investigation, police arrested a woman student, while a youth, stated to be her boyfriend, was held in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Punjab's Additional Director General of Police, Gurpreet Deo, who reached the Chandigarh University campus to take stock of the situation after the Saturday night protests, told reporters that the woman student appeared to have shared a video of herself with the youth and no objectionable video of any other student was found.
What happened at the University
A girl student from the university was caught red-handed making videos of 60 other girls, who were bathing. Another student from the university allegedly posted the videos on YouTube. As per reports, the girl student who shot the videos is from Mohali, and she sent the video to a friend living in Shimla. The videos soon went viral, and one of the girl students who were in the video also tried to commit suicide.
Briefing reporters at the university campus, ADGP Deo, who is also holding the charge of women and child affairs, said many rumours about the case were circulating on various social media platforms.
"There are 4,000 girl students who live in the hostel. One has been arrested by police. Her phone has been taken into police possession and state cyber crime is conducting its analysis".
Deo said that three to four girl students spotted the accused student in the common washroom where she was taking some pictures with her phone "which they thought she was taking from underneath the bathroom door... They then reported the matter to the warden and subsequently the police were informed".
In a video that surfaced on social media, a few students were purportedly seen confronting the student who is accused of making the videos. Referring to a video of a student being taken in an ambulance, the SSP Soni said she had some anxiety problems and was fine.
Replying to a question on the hostel warden, the SSP said she questioned the woman student, who was later arrested, to find information on whether she had made a video of any other student. Notably, in a video, the warden is purportedly seen asking the woman student, “Who told you to record the video?..You will be suspended".
University terms allegations 'baseless', students disagree
The University authorities rejected "false and baseless" reports that claimed videos of several women students in the hostel were made and leaked on social media and distraught students had attempted suicide after the episode.
However, a fresh protest was held on the university campus on Sunday evening by a large number of students, including males, with many accusing the university authorities of “suppressing facts'' related to the alleged videos and ''suicide attempt'' by a student.
Most of the protesters were dressed in black clothes and chanted "we want justice" in the presence of police.
Tension prevailed on the campus as protesting students confronted university and police authorities, questioning why the university had on Sunday evening declared September 19 and 20 as "non-teaching days" thus declaring a holiday for students "if nothing had happened on the campus".
Students say university trying to enforce dress code for girls
Some students also alleged that the university was trying to enforce a dress code for girl students. "We want that all investigation should be held with transparency," said a protesting woman student while also demanding that "hostels should not be made jails".
Following accusations of students that they were lathi-charged on Saturday during their protest, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Amit Talwar told them a magisterial inquiry will be conducted into it. University authorities said that the demand of protesting students regarding relaxing hostel timings and a copy of the FIR have been agreed to. The university management and the police suggested that a students' committee be formed to hold further talks with the university administration regarding their various other issues.
Row after terming allegations 'rumors'
Mohali's SSP Vivek Sheel Soni faced the ire of agitated students after he told reporters that the protests occurred after "rumours" that videos of several women students had been made and leaked. Soni said the arrested student's mobile phone has been seized for forensic analysis and added that no suicide attempt by any student or death has occurred. An FIR under IPC section 354-C (voyeurism) and the IT Act has been registered in the matter and further probe is on, officials said.
CM Mann orders probe
Chief Minister Mann ordered the probe into the incident, saying strict action will be taken against those found guilty. “Our daughters are our honour... a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident... severe action will be taken against whoever is found guilty,” said Mann in a tweet in Punjabi. “I am in touch with the administration,” said Mann, who is in Germany, while appealing to people not to believe rumours.
The incident sparked a flurry of reactions from political parties and the central and state women's rights bodies too stepped in.
Punjab State Women Commission Chairperson Manisha Gulati visited the university campus.
In a statement, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said its chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the Director General of Police of Punjab to deal with the matter strictly and without any laxity.
The victims must be given proper counselling and their safety and security must be ensured, the NCW said.
The women's rights body has also written to Vice Chancellor, Chandigarh University to take stringent action against the culprits in accordance with the law and investigate the matter extensively.
Opposition leaders including Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, former chief minister Amarinder Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa demanded a free and fair probe and exemplary punishment for the guilty.
Badal said authorities should make all facts public and not try to suppress anything.
(With PTI inputs)