Mohali, September 18
Protests erupted on the campus of Chandigarh University, Gharuan, late on Saturday over “rumours” that objectionable videos of several girl students were recorded by a hosteller and shared with her friend in Shimla.
The police arrested an MBA first-year student of the university under various provisions of the IT Act, while her friend and another person were held in Shimla. The issue snowballed into a major controversy after a couple of girls fainted due to exhaustion during the protests, leading to rumours that eight girls “attempted suicide”.
The police claimed no suicide attempt was made by anyone. An official said, “A case under Sections 354-C (voyeurism) and 66(E) of the IT Act has been registered at the Sadar Kharar police station against the girl and her Shimla-based friend.” The police were probing whether there was a conspiracy or an attempt to extort money.
ADGP (Community and Women Affairs) Gurpreet Kaur Deo said, “The girl’s mobile phone and laptop have been sent to a forensic lab. Though hostel inmates alleged the girl was trying to shoot a video of other girls in the common washroom, we have not found any such video. She had shot her own video and shared it with her friend. Further investigations are on.” Meanwhile, a video of the hostel warden purportedly grilling the suspect has gone viral on the social media even as the police refused to share details of the incident. In the video, the warden was purportedly heard asking the suspect as to why she made the videos of other girls and with whom she was sharing these? Manisha Gulati, Chairperson, Punjab State Women Commission, said, “We will look into the matter and also probe the alleged video featuring the warden.”
In a statement, the National Commission for Women said its Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the Punjab DGP to deal with the matter strictly. The victims must be given proper counselling and their safety and security must be ensured, the NCW said. The sources said the girls were recently shifted to the building, which was earlier a boys’ hostel. The shifting was done after the girls raised concerns over privacy.
Dr RS Bawa, Pro-Chancellor, Chandigarh University, said, “There were reports that 60 objectionable MMSes were shared on the social media following which some girls attempted suicide. This is totally false and baseless. During a preliminary investigation by the university, no video was found from any student, except a personal video shot by a girl which she had shared with her boyfriend.”
CM Bhagwant Mann has ordered a high-level probe into the matter. “Anyone found guilty will not be spared. Exemplary action will be taken against the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” he said.
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