The Udupi Video incident has an inhumane voyeuristic angle. The incident has become viral due to the various versions of the truth. The recently elected Congress government in Karnataka is fighting the media and activists to term the incident as a ‘prank’ and ‘harmless joke’ between students of the same college. Any position otherwise makes the police visit your home, as in the case of Rashmi Samant; or has a pseudo fact checker drown you in spit by dog-whistling his cadre of followers. A deeper look into the incident is required to judge the truth from its projected version.
The Twisted Tale of the Udupi Video Incident :
The Incident Itself
The Netra Jyothi College in Udupi, Karnataka is embroiled in a controversy related to the recording of private moments of Hindu girl students in the washroom by three Muslim students on 18th July 2023. The accused Muslim girls were in the second year of a diploma course in optometry. The victim realized that her use of the washroom was recorded by the girls and filed a complaint with the college administration.
The college administration counseled the girls to correct their behavior and asked them to delete the video in front of the victim. As a precaution, the police were notified of the incident on the 20th of July 2023. The victims probably hesitated to file an FIR to avoid public shaming. The police observed that the video was no longer present on the phones of the accused. The college asked the accused girls to write an essay 5 times as a punishment. The girls were allowed to continue their education, while the victims sat in protest outside the college. Finally, the college bowed to the mounting pressure from the media and the students to suspend the girls on 25th July 2023.
Recent news states that the accused repeatedly did such indecent behavior unchecked for the past year. Moreover, reports state the accused was observed by fellow students exchanging mobile phones with boys outside the campus. Thus, they believe these videos were spread using this method. The videos allegedly made rounds on the social media platform WhatsApp. However, no evidence has been found as yet.
Reports also claim that the management knew of the activities of these accused Muslim girls and had warned them before as well. The students who reported their activities were silenced by the college administration.
Additionally, the reports claim that the FIR against Shabhnaz, Alfiya, and Aleema was filed at a later date when the incident grew into a wave of discontent on social media platforms. The police have included the college management in the FIR.
The IPC codes related to insulting the modesty of a woman, intentionally withholding evidence, destruction of records, and illegal capture of a person’s private area without consent are applied to the accused and the college.
The Projected Truth by the Karnataka Congress and its Allies:
The internet and social media have made the suppression of the incident an impossibility for the Congress government. The only recourse is to whitewash the incident and spread misinformation. The following are the projected truths by the Liberals and ‘peacefuls’:
- The video was a prank, so no action is required.
- The video was targeted at someone else, and the Hindu girl was filmed by mistake. Therefore, no need to name communities in the incident
- There is no evidence of the circulation of the video. Thus, no crime is committed.
- The video is no longer present on the mobile phones. Therefore, it was probably never taken.
- Punishment essays are sufficient to deal with a minor dispute among friends. Thus, politicizing the incident is not appropriate.
- The victims hesitated to file an FIR. Thus, the college management is not at fault for allowing the accused to continue their education after the incident was reported to them.
- There are no security cameras in the toilet. Thus, the incident is fake news. However, there is no mention of the fact that the accused confessed to recording the video in an apology letter.
The Convoluted Politics on the Udupi Video Incident
The Congress and BJP are currently in a mud-slinging match. The Congress government in Karnataka has employed pseudo-fact checkers that have been repeatedly caught trying to whitewash the truth. Moreover, the Karnataka government is trying to suppress the Udupi video incident by claiming it was a harmless prank among fellow students. While the BJP is up in arms against the way the police are dragging its feet on the incident. The Congress is also questioning the non-governmental organizations like NCW for becoming involved in the matter.
The students and activists demand that a forensic study of the mobile phones of the girls should be conducted to check if the video was an isolated incident. Moreover, they demand a detailed search into the mobile phones to check if the video was shared by any means. Finally, they want the judicial system to punish the accused as per the law.
The Social Media Battle on Udupi Video Incident
Fake fact-checkers are on the payroll of the Karnataka government. They have started to project the video to the guidelines set by Congress. The mantle of justice taken up by social activists, like Rashmi Samant and Shefali Vaidya, is being discredited on all social media platforms. Any parallels drawn between this incident and ‘Ajmer 92’ are drowned out by dog-whistling activities. The versions of truth and the background of the victims as well as their intent are being questioned more than the intent of the so-called prank by the accused Muslim girls.
Thus, the only questions that arise are:
- Would this incident still be a ‘harmless prank’ if the religious identity of the abused and the accused was reversed?
- Would the fact-checkers be downplaying the incident if the crime was against a different religious group?
- Is recording such a video not criminal enough? Does the victim’s video need to be viral to get justice?
- Should the accused with such low standards of respect for their gender be allowed to continue their education in the medical field?