Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Pexels)
Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Pexels)

Udupi video case needs quick resolution

The political slugfest between the Congress and BJP over the washroom incident has only added fuel in a region known to be a hotbed of communalism.

A controversial college washroom incident in coastal Karnataka’s Udupi is now a national headline spinner.

What started allegedly as a prank, albeit an unsavoury one, has been given a communal twist by right-wing student unions and local leaders amid a flood of misinformation over what exactly happened.

The police version and the ongoing investigation have been conveniently brushed aside, and the faith of the students has gained primacy. A strange tragedy of errors unfolded: Three girls attempting to film a classmate in the toilet ended up filming the wrong student, who noticed the mobile phone. The videos were deleted, and the issue was addressed at the college level. It may have been a practical joke done “for fun”, as the girls claimed, but it did cross the bar of decency and is a crime in the eyes of the law. It deserves the strictest action by the management.

The case is taking its due legal course—though the “victim” did not wish to file a complaint, protests broke out, leading to an FIR against the girls; their mobile phones were sent to the forensics department, the National Commission for Women (NCW) began its investigation, and the girls were suspended. The issue does not deserve politicisation, the extreme levels of sound and fury that right-wing leaders are kicking up off-campus, the demands for an SIT probe, and the allegations of a “larger conspiracy”, with the girls being labelled “jihadis”. NCW member and BJP leader Khushbu Sundar dismissed rumours of hidden cameras in the washroom and a viral video, saying that misinformation is hindering the investigation, while Udupi SP Akshay Machhindra has said no evidence has come to light yet.

At this point, one must draw a parallel between two videos hogging the national limelight: The Udupi video, which was deleted and is unavailable to the public, and the Manipur outrage video, which the entire country has viewed. Some sections are attempting to magnify one and downplay the other, using fake news and social media as tools to do so.The difference in reactions is stark and serves the cause of the ruling party at the Centre.

The political slugfest between the Congress and BJP over the washroom incident has only added fuel in a region known to be a hotbed of communalism. The state government must handle the issue firmly and ensure the police resolve the case lawfully and justly.

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The New Indian Express
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