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Protests at Punjab private varsity: Accused shared only own videos, says SSP; ‘no suicide attempt’ during stir

Protests at Punjab private varsity: Accused shared only own videos, says SSP; ‘no suicide attempt’ during stir

The Mohali DC clarified that no student had attempted suicide during the protests over the alleged leak of objectionable videos of students at a university in Punjab. He said some girls had fainted amid the protests.

Hours after protests over the alleged leak of objectionable videos of students rocked a private university in Punjab’s Kharar town, Mohali SSP Vivek Sheel Soni said Sunday that the woman student accused in the incident had shared only her own videos with a friend and that the police did not find videos of other girls on her phone.

Mohali deputy commissioner Amit Talwar clarified that no student had attempted suicide during the protests, but some girls had fainted and were provided medical assistance.

Addressing a press conference, senior superintendent of police Soni said, “I want to make it clear that we did not get any video of other women, we are also not giving a clean chit to anyone. The prime accused has been arrested, we have confiscated the equipment.”

Hundreds of students of the university on the LudhianaChandigarh highway had protested late Saturday after a woman student allegedly leaked objectionable videos of other students. Amid the chaos, some girls had collapsed.

Asked about a video clip that shows the hostel warden asking the accused girl about filming other girls, the SSP said, “The warden was asking the accused to clear the air on the number and kind of videos she had made.” The SSP stated that social media posts about some students attempting suicide are false.

Kharar police have arrested the accused under section 66E (violation of privacy – capturing, transmitting images) of the IT Act and 354C (voyeurism) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Sources said the Punjab Police have also sent a team to Shimla as the student had confessed to sending her videos to a friend there.

The trouble began when a student suspected that she had been filmed by the accused, who is doing her MBA, and complained to the warden, sources in the hostel said. Soon, the news spread across the campus and on social media.

The dean of students’ welfare at the university said the accused had only confessed to sending her own videos to her friend. Calling it a very sensitive matter, the dean said the university takes utmost care to ensure the safety of women hostelers, adding, “No male is allowed inside and even male maintenance staff is accompanied by the warden.”

He said that though the hostel in question was recently converted from a boys’ hostel to a girls’ hostel, they had taken all precautions to ensure the privacy of girl students. When asked if it was possible to film a girl while bathing, he said they ensured complete privacy of the students and that an investigation is on.

The varsity had also requested the police to probe the charge that the entire incident is part of a malicious social media campaign to defame the university, he said.

On the protests by students, he said police personnel were deployed at the gate and varsity officials had swung into action soon after the students began to gather. “Our officials, along with the police, briefed the protesting students who went back to their hostels,” the dean said.

Earlier, state higher education minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer tweeted, “It is really saddening to know about the unfortunate incident… Since this matter is very sensitive, it is my request not to forward any unsubstantiated news. There is no news of suicide by any girl student. 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.”

Punjab Women’s Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati said she will be monitoring the issue closely. They will inspect the hostel and question the warden, she said, adding, “We will submit our report within a week.”

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