Three arrested after massive campus protests over ‘leaked bathing videos’ in Indian university

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Three people have been arrested so far in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh in connection to allegations of a student secretly recording videos of women bathing in hostel bathrooms, leading to massive campus protests.

The incident sparked protests among students of Chandigarh University, a privately-run institution in the northern state of Punjab, over the weekend after rumours spread that a woman student recorded around 60 objectionable videos of other women in the hostel and shared them with a man, believed to be her boyfriend.

The demonstrations turned violent on Saturday night and the following day after students showed dissatisfaction with the university’s handling of the case by denying the videos were filmed in a bid, they alleged, to salvage its image.

One woman, an MBA student in the same college; her male friend, a resident of Shimla; and a second man, whose role is not clear yet, have been arrested and were produced in court on Monday.

The police urged the court for a 10-day custody of the trio but they were granted a seven-day police remand instead.

The university has been shut down for a week till Saturday as the high-level investigation continued to determine how many videos were filmed and with whom they were shared.

A three-member, all-women Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the allegations by Chandigarh University students.

Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav said the electronic devices of the three accused have been seized for forensic examination.

“The SIT will go to the bottom of this matter and whoever is found involved in this case will not be spared,” he said.

The counsel for the accused woman, advocate Sandeep Sharma, said two videos have been recovered so far - one of the accused woman herself and another of some other woman. Mr Sharma alleged that the man was blackmailing her client, reported ANI.

It is not known if the second video was objectionable.

The university administration has also suspended the girls’ hostel warden Rajvinder Kaur for alleged misbehaviour with students after her video confronting the accused girl went viral on social media.

The students agreed to break their protest on late Sunday after the university administration and police accepted their demands and promised a probe.

On Sunday, Chandigarh University chancellor Dr RS Bawa said “there have been no videos found of any student which are objectionable except a personal video shot by a girl which was shared by herself to her boyfriend”.

He said the “rumours” that 60 objectionable messages have been found of students are “totally false and baseless”.

The incident garnered national headlines and was hotly debated on the internet after several prominent people condemned it and lamented about women feeling unsafe in their personal spaces like bathrooms and hostel rooms.

A female student of the university told Tribune newspaper that the incident has “shaken” them all and she feels she is being filmed each time she steps into a washroom.

“I get conscious while changing clothes or going to the washroom. Scary thoughts cross my mind. What if I was also shot?” she said.