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Chandigarh University MMS: 2 nights of student protests and subsequent police action that left us with more questions than answers

In a private university named Chandigarh University near Mohali in Punjab, a girl was accused of recording videos of 60+ girls while taking a bath and then forwarding them to her friend in Shimla.

On September 18, India woke up to a horrible news story coming out of Punjab. In a private university named Chandigarh University near Mohali in Punjab, a girl was accused of recording videos of 60+ girls while taking a bath and then forwarding them to her friend in Shimla.

Multiple videos went viral on social media following that where the hostel’s warden and the accused girl’s fellow students can be seen confronting the girl and asking her how can she do that to her fellow female students. She was also being asked to apologise in the videos and prepare for a police case.

After the students in the university came to know what had happened, they came out in large numbers and started protesting outside the university gate and around the hostel where the incident took place. Accusing the Chandigarh University of trying to suppress the matter, the students raised slogans demanding justice for the girl students in the hostel.

The university finally called the Police to control the students. Upon arrival, the Police tried to talk to the students, which further irked them, and they allegedly overturned a few PCR vans. The Police eventually used lathi charge to disperse the crowd.

Following the protests, on Sunday, September 18, local police and university administration, both issued statements that refuted the news of recordings of 60+ girls. They said that the accused girl used to only record her own videos and send them to her friend in Shimla. They also dismissed the rumours that any girl attempted suicide on campus over this news.

However, this didn’t placate the agitating students of Chandigarh University as they once again gathered to protest on the night of September 18. Not satisfied with the police action and university response, the students kept protesting well into the night. Eventually, the police and the administration agreed to their demands and agreed to form an SIT to probe the matter. Two more accused in the case were also arrested from Shimla, including the girl’s friend who allegedly received the videos from her.

Despite multiple police statements, several questions still remain unanswered

Even though the police have been communicating with the general public and the students regularly during the course of these protests, their communication has left people with more questions than answers.

The very first morning after the protests, Mohali SSP Vivek Soni said that the accused has not recorded videos of any other girls, and she has only sent her own videos to her friend in Shimla. In such a short space of time, how did police manage to conduct a thorough forensic examination of the accused’s phone and come to this conclusion?

In the viral videos from the university, the accused girl is being asked how can she do this to fellow girls, and not once did she say that she hasn’t done anything to her fellow students. Implying that she indeed was guilty of something at the very least, however, police were quick to say that she hasn’t recorded or forwarded anyone else’s videos. What was the rush to come to such a conclusion without conducting a thorough probe?

If the police believed that nobody’s videos have been recorded and forwarded, then why have there been 3 arrests in the case, including an ‘accomplice‘ who wasn’t even initially named by the girl?

The initial statement from the police is hard to believe because it is hard to fathom that the entire Chandigarh University came out to protest when there was no substance behind their accusations, and nobody else’s video was recorded.

The university administration repeated pretty much the same thing as the police that the girl recorded only her own videos and there were no recordings of any other girl. However, the university went on to suspend two hostel wardens after the protests and set up an inquiry committee 2 days later.

If the university knows that there were no other videos recorded by the girl then why are they acting now, after 2 days of sustained protests by the students? Was their initial reaction just to cover up the case and put an end to the investigations?

Interestingly, as per reports, two videos have been found in the mobiles of the accused that will now be sent for a forensic probe. One video is that of the accused girl, while the other one is of some other girl. ANI quoted the accused’s lawyer Sandeep Sharma as confirming to the media. This totally contradicts the initial stand taken by the administration that there are no other videos.

The investigations into the case are underway and the forensic examination of the accused’s phones may shed some new light on the case. However, the initial reaction from the police and the administration does raise a few eyebrows.

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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