Chandigarh University Row: Woman Student, ‘Boyfriend’ from Himachal Held; 1 More Person Detained

Student protests erupted again on the campus of Chandigarh University, in Punjab’s Mohali late on Sunday. (Image: News18)

Massive protests rocked the campus of the Chandigarh University in Punjab’s Mohali, with many students accusing the varsity authorities of trying to “suppress information”

A woman student and a 23-year-old youth from Himachal Pradesh stated to be her boyfriend were arrested on Sunday, in connection with the case of an alleged leak of objectionable videos of female hostelers studying at Chandigarh University. Another 31-year-old person from Shimla was also detained in the matter, police said.

Massive protests rocked the campus of the private university in Punjab’s Mohali, with many accusing the authorities of trying to “cover up the leak”. Police, however, said the accused woman appeared to have shared a video of herself with the youth. No other clips were found in her possession, police added.

Police also dismissed rumors of the accused having made videos of other hostellers, and said reports of some students attempting or dying by suicide were false.

The arrested youth, whose role in the matter was already under the scanner, was first detained in Shimla and later handed over to Punjab Police. The accused belongs to Shimla district’s Rohru town. But, there is no information on the other person detained from Dhalli police station.

Here is all that happened through the day in the Chandigarh University row:

  1. In the latest development, according to Shimla police, a 31-year-old person was detained by Punjab Police. This followed the arrest of the 23-year-old youth, who is said to be the boyfriend of the woman student arrested for allegedly recording objectionable videos of her fellow hostelers at Chandigarh University in Mohali. The youth belongs to Rohru town located in Shimla district. So far, two have been arrested and one detained in the case. Himachal Pradesh Police DGP Sanjay Kundu said the state police reacted to the request of Punjab Police with sensitivity and professionalism and nabbed the other accused in the case.
  2. Fresh protests rocked the campus of the private university late on Sunday, as numbers of protesting students continued to swell. Tension prevailed on the campus as protesting students confronted university and police officials, questioning why the university had declared September 19 and 20 as “non-teaching days” if nothing had happened on the campus. Some students accused the university authorities of suppressing facts related to the alleged videos and suicide bid by a student. Most of the protesters were dressed in black clothes and chanted ‘We want justice’ in the presence of the police.
  3. Dr Arvinder Singh Kang, director, student welfare of the university, tried to pacify protesters. Officials urged them not to fall prey to rumors and said all demands by students will be met as well as all concerned will get justice. The officials further said protests were not the right way to ask for justice and press for demands. “We will listen to all your demands, we will provide justice to all of you. But, you will have to approach the matter professionally, only then can we solve the issues. We know that you all are angry. You all will get justice,” officials told students.
  4. Punjab ADGP Gurpreet Deo reached the campus to take stock of the situation after the first round of protests on Saturday night. In a press conference, she said the accused female student appeared to have shared a video of herself with the youth and no objectionable video of any other student was found. University authorities also rejected as “false and baseless” reports that claimed videos of several female students were made and leaked on social media and distraught students had attempted suicide after the episode.
  5. DIG GPS Bhullar told protesters that an SIT headed by a senior woman IPS officer will be formed for an in-depth investigation. “It is our duty to clear every apprehension of the children,” said Bhullar.
  6. Mohali SSP Vivek Sheel 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 has been filed under IPC Section 354C (voyeurism) and the IT Act and further investigation is on, officials said.
  7. Deo, who is also holding the charge of women and child affairs, said many rumors about the case were circulating on social media platforms. “There are 4,000 female students who live in the hostel. One has been arrested. Her phone has been taken into police possession and state cyber crime is conducting its analysis,” she said, adding that three to four female students spotted the accused in the common washroom taking some pictures with her phone. She added that the other “thought she was taking pictures from underneath the bathroom door… They then reported the matter to the warden and subsequently the police were informed”. “I want to clarify after interacting with the group of girls they are happy that their concerns have been addressed. Their concern was if there is any video of other girls on her phone. Prima facie we did not come across any video of other girls,” Deo said.
  8. Chandigarh University pro-chancellor RS Bawa said, “There are rumors that girls have committed suicide whereas the fact is that no girl has attempted any such step. No girl has been admitted to hospital in the incident,” adding, “there is another rumor which is circulating through the media that an objectionable MMS has been found of different students. This is totally false and baseless.”
  9. Chief minister Bhagwant Mann ordered a high-level probe into the incident, saying strict action will be taken against those found guilty. “Our daughters are our honor… a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident… severe action will be taken against whoever is found guilty,” tweeted Mann in Punjabi, adding, “I am in touch with the administration.” Mann, who is in Germany, appealed to people not to believe rumours.
  10. Punjab State Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati also visited the university campus. In a statement, the NCW said its chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the Punjab DIG to deal with the matter strictly and without any laxity. The victims must be given proper counseling and their safety and security must be ensured, the NCW added. The women’s rights body has also written to the VC to take stringent action and investigate the matter extensively.

(With PTI inputs)

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