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Dirty Side of Karnataka PSI Scam: Discussion Chat Box Turns Abusive to Women

Some men who are part of a PSI Scam Telegram group allegedly targeted women by verbally abusing them.

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Dirty Side of Karnataka PSI Scam: Discussion Chat Box Turns Abusive to Women
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A Telegram chat group created for raising concerns about the PSI (Police Sub Inspector) scam has turned into a nightmare for women members.

By accessing screenshots of chats in this group, The Quint has learnt that some men in the Telegram group have been revealing women's personal details, sharing their photographs, and using abusive language targeting women, in what amounts to online sexual abuse.

The Telegram group was created after the PSI scam was unearthed in January this year. The group allegedly turned abusive after a set of selected female students raised objection to re-examination.

Police Sub-Inspector recruitment examination was held in October 2021 across 93 centres in Karnataka for the appointment of 545 candidates. The exam was attended by 54,041 candidates. The controversy has since triggered probe into cheating that was allegedly supported by bigwigs, including those connected to the ruling BJP.

Recently, the government announced re-examination to the disappointment of qualified candidates and to the relief of those who had not made the cut.

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Alleged Sexual Calls, Vile Accusations, and Revealing Personal Details

The group, named SCAM (545)/KPSC – which stands for the scam related to hiring of 545 police sub-inspectors by the Karnataka Public Service Commission – was allegedly created by aspirants after the scam was unearthed in April. The group which has over 30,000 members, gives updates regarding the on-going PSI scam case. The participants also discuss issues concerning the scam.

However, the group turned into an abusive hate box with Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai announcing a re-examination to recruit 545 police sub-inspectors in the state.

When the selected candidates raised concerns about re-writing the exam that they had once cleared, and approached the court for relief, another section which is part of the group started targeting women, it is alleged.

Speaking to The Quint, a former member of the Telegram chat-box said that she fell victim to online hate and abuse. "I along with a delegation of aspirants met with our religious community leader and sought help in May, asking him to back genuine candidates who had cleared the (PSI) exam. Soon, my photographs were shared on the Telegram group (SCAM 545/ KPSC) and vile sexual remarks were made against me."

The screenshots of the chat accessed by The Quint, revealed that several male members of the group accused female candidates of giving sexual favours in return for PSI appointment.

The male members of the SCAM (545)/KPSC group also alleged targeted female members by allegedly sending them inappropriate messages.

A screenshot accessed by The Quint showed a profile named Santosh asking a female member to be sexually intimate with him, and when she refused, he accused her of being sexually involved with authorities to get the a job.

"A user who had hidden his identity, but was a member of the group, started calling and harassing me. He also messaged accusing me of offering sexual favours to a senior police officer," said another aggrieved female candidate to The Quint.

"Seventy percent of the candidates who appeared for the (PSI) exam are men, women can do nothing," read a message from the same person who allegedly turned abusive to the woman candidate.

Out of the 545 candidates who were selected for the role of Police Sub-Inspector, 137 were women. Women candidates who are part of the Telegram group are concerned about their safety and future, as they were allegedly subjected to online abuse in front of over 30,000 members of the chat-box.

"They revealed my name and my parents' names and said that I passed the examination by offering sexual favours and paying money," said an affected woman candidate on the condition of anonymity. The administrator of the group started the abuse, she further alleged.

Women Candidates Approach Women's Commission and Police

Women members of the Telegram group approached the Bengaluru City Commissioner and the Karnataka State Commission for Women on 7 June 2022.

In the letter addressed to Pramila Naidu, the state president of the women's commission, the aggrieved members of the Telegram group have raised concerns about their safety and filed a complaint implicating the administrator of the group.

In the letter written to Bengaluru city police commissioner, the women also detailed out the vile allegations that they have been facing and highlighted ways in which they were targeted online

While the majority of those who have been at the receiving end of abuse on this Telegram group are women, there was also an instance of a male member being targeted.

The male member was accused of bribing the authorities, and photographs of his aged parents, residential address, and phone number were shared on the group.

Speaking to The Quint, the aggrieved aspirant said, "What I have faced is a minor thing as compared to what women on this group have faced. But, I am concerned about the fact that they shared photographs of my parents, made offensive remarks against them, and revealed personal information and also."

After the CID took over the PSI Scam case, over 40 candidates have been arrested in connection with the scam.

The sessions court in Kalaburagi where the matter is being heard has observed that meritorious candidates who passed the exam have suffered because of the accused – BJP leader Divya Hagaragi other persons allegedly involved in the case.

According to an Indian Express report, the court rejected the bail order of Hagaragi and said that the alleged crime is "more than the offence which is punishable with death or imprisonment for life."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from south-india

Topics:  Gender   Online Abuse Against Women   Hate 

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