National Commission for Women (NCW) member Khushbu Sundar, who visited the Udupi paramedical college where three Muslim girls allegedly shot a video of a Hindu girl in a restroom, clarified that there are no hidden cameras involved in the incident.
"There is no hidden camera. Absolutely not. There are rumours of hidden cameras in the toilets. Please understand that there is NIL. There is nothing. There is a rumour which is going around, there are false videos which are going around. It is an institution, so there cannot be any hidden cameras," she told the media on Thursday, 27 July.
"We are speaking to the police. The investigation from the police department and the investigation from our side will continue, and we'll come to a conclusion very soon," the BJP leader added.
Her statement comes a day after the Malpe Police in Karnataka's Udupi said that it has registered a suo-motu case against a Twitter user for allegedly spreading misinformation about the incident.
According to the police, an edited video, which was falsely linked to the incident, was uploaded on a YouTube channel called One India Kannada. A person named Kalu Singh Chauhan shared the video on his Twitter account.
The police filed a suo-motu case against the three Muslim students and the college management for "defaming a woman."
On Tuesday, 25 July, Udupi Superintendent of Police Hakay Akshay Machhindra had clarified that no hidden camera was used in the incident, the video that was shot by the Muslim students was immediately deleted in front of the Hindu student, and that no video linked to the incident was circulated online.
Then, Was the Fake Video Circulated Online?
On 18 July, the three students allegedly shot the video of the other student inside the institute's washroom "for fun". They, however, deleted the video immediately and apologised to the student.
The student later told a faculty member, who then informed the college authorities about the issue. In the presence of the police and the students' parents, the three Muslim women were suspended until further notice and their phone was confiscated.
However, several right-wing groups allegedly gave a communal spin to the incident, claiming that the Muslim women used hidden cameras to shoot private videos of "hundreds of Hindu girls" and circulated these videos among Muslim men.
Twitter user Kalu Singh Chauhan, who has now been booked, allegedly tweeted an edited video uploaded on a YouTube channel called One India Kannada. Both Chauhan and One India Kannada have removed the videos from their respective pages.
The video was shared with a claim that it showed the hidden camera present in one of the bathrooms at the institute. "A voluntary complaint has been filed at Malpe police station under the act of disturbing harmony and an investigation will be carried out," the Malpe Police statement said.
In a tweet, Chauhan claimed that he downloaded the video from the YouTube channel – and so, "it's their fault".
The video was reportedly an edited version of an awareness video from Tamil Nadu.
The Udupi SP, on Tuesday, said:
"There are a lot of people sharing misinformation and rumours on social media with regard to this incident. Perhaps, they are doing this with some motive. I would like to clarify that though there were reports that there were hidden cameras, as per our information, no such thing was used in this case."
Speaking to The Quint over the phone on Tuesday, the director of the institute Rashmi Krishna Prasad also said that there was no video leak, and added that the video was deleted by the three Muslim students in front of the Hindu girl who they filmed, as per her own admission.
"No video was circulated among anyone, unlike what is being said on social media. It is all wrong. It is being shared to tarnish the image of the institute as well as the future of the students," she added.
Suo-Motu Case Filed Against 3 Muslim Students
The Malpe Police, on Wednesday, also filed a suo-motu case against the three Muslim students as well as the college administration.
"The Malpe police station PSI has filed a suo-motu complaint against three female students and the college management board for the act of defaming a woman, the act of filming a private picture of a person, the act of failing to produce information and documents about the video of a student in the toilet, and its deletion," the police statement said.
It may be mentioned that Karnataka BJP leaders on Tuesday held a press conference in Bengaluru, demanding a detailed investigation into the issue.
The BJP Mahila Morcha also called for a statewide protest on 27 July, demanding that the police take action against the three Muslim students.