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All-women SIT to probe Chandigarh varsity case, 3 accused in police remand

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
September 19, 2022 22:52 IST
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The Punjab police on Monday formed a three-member all-women special investigation team to probe the allegations levelled by students of Chandigarh University that a hosteller had recorded several objectionable videos of women students in the common washroom.

IMAGE: Students stage a protest over objectionable videos of several women students were allegedly recorded by a hosteller, at Chandigarh University in Mohali, Punjab, September 18, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

Also, a court in Mohali's Kharar sent the three accused, including the woman student, to seven-day police remand.

 

Protests rocked the university campus in Punjab's Mohali on Saturday night over the issue. Some students even claimed that the videos recorded by the woman student were even leaked.

The police had earlier said the arrested student shared a video of only herself with a 23-year-old "boyfriend" and no objectionable video of any other student was found.

The university authorities too rejected as "false and baseless" reports that claimed videos of several woman students in the varsity hostel were made and leaked on social media and distraught students had attempted suicide after the episode.

The students, however, had accused the university authorities of "suppressing facts" and held a fresh protest on Sunday evening, which continued till late night.

Punjab director general of police Gaurav Yadav said the SIT has been formed under the overall supervision of additional DGP (community affairs division and women affairs) Gurpreet Kaur Deo.

The team will thoroughly probe the case and no person involved will be spared, Yadav said, adding, "Investigations are going on at full pace."

The SIT comprises Ludhiana Superintendent of Police (Counter Intelligence) Rupinder Kaur Bhatti as the in-charge, while two members include Kharar-1 Deputy Superintendent of Police Rupinder Kaur and DSP (anti-gangster task force) Deepika Singh.

The SIT will function under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General (Rupnagar Range) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar and Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Sheel Soni, and it can co-opt any other member, based on functional requirements, officials said.

The woman student was arrested shortly while her alleged boyfriend was nabbed from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. The third accused in the case, a 31-year-old man, was also held from the hill state on Sunday evening.

The two male accused, who are stated to be friends, were handed over to the Punjab Police. Police have also seized phones of the three accused for forensic examination.

The police on Monday produced the three accused in the Kharar court in Mohali and sought a ten-day remand. However, the court sent the accused to seven-day police remand.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Sandeep Sharma, counsel for the accused, said there were two videos -- one was of the woman accused and second of some other girl.

When asked about allegations against the woman student, Sharma said it is a matter of investigation.

Following assurance of a fair and transparent probe, the students ended their protest at around 1.30 am on Monday, Mohali police chief Soni said.

Meanwhile, the university announced "non-teaching days" till September 24, following which several students returned to their homes. Some parents of students also took back their wards from the campus.

It also suspended two wardens for negligence and declared.

Further, a joint committee comprising students and senior functionaries to address certain issues, such as hostel timings, has been formed by the private varsity.

This comes following a demand from the students for more privacy in the washroom area and relaxation in hostel timings.

In a tweet, the university said it stands by its students. "We are always with our students, be it their academic aspirations or their safety and well-being. We will leave no stone unturned to live it up to this commitment towards our students," it wrote on the micro-blogging platform.
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Meanwhile, Punjab DGP Yadav said, "Regarding the unfortunate incident which took place in Chandigarh University, I want to apprise that investigations are going on at full pace. The police made three arrests in the case, including that of a student and two others from Himachal Pradesh. Certain electronic devices have been seized."

"I would like to thank Himachal DGP and HP Police for extending all cooperation to Punjab Police for making the two arrests late yesterday," Yadav said.

He said on the instructions of Punjab Chief Minister, a high-level probe had been ordered earlier.

"I want to make two assurances to the students, parents and the community at large. Firstly, we would respect the privacy and dignity of all individuals concerned and we will make endeavours to protect the privacy of the concerned people. Secondly, we will get to the bottom of this matter, and whoever is involved will not be spared.

"Investigations in the case are going on a day-to-day basis," he said.

The DGP urged people and the students not to go by the rumours.

"I want to appeal to everyone to maintain calm and peace and not pay heed to rumours. A lot of content is being circulated on social media, which is sometimes unverified and uncorroborated. So, I would say look at authentic channels for information. All of us as members of the society have the duty to preserve peace and harmony," he added.

An FIR under Section 354-C (voyeurism) of the Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act has been registered in the matter, police said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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