How a Restroom Video Prank Took on a Communal Colour in Karnataka

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MK Ashoka

BENGALURU – The incident of making a video of Hindu girl students while using the restroom by three Muslim girls in a college in Udupi city of Karnataka has resulted in a political slugfest between the ruling Congress and the BJP.

The Congress government tried to manage the issue by calling it a small matter which would be taken care of by the college. Later, after the commotion the issue created it had to lodge an FIR against the Muslim girls. The BJP state unit observed a statewide protest on July 27 and its cadres even tried to barge into the residence of Home Minister G. Parameshwara in Bengaluru.

Congress national spokesperson Lavanya Ballal told IANS that now with a NCW member saying that the incident did not take place and it was not a malicious issue and with what the superintendent of police of Udupi stated regarding the incident, it was very clear that the BJP was trying to instigate disharmony in Karnataka. This is not the first time they are doing it, it is a norm for the BJP to disturb the peace. They also want to divert the attention of the nation from the horrors of the Manipur incident and the failure of the double engine government in that state.

After the hijab crisis, this incident had threatened to divide the people, especially the student community, on communal lines. Concerns have been raised that the incident had affected the students in the communally sensitive districts of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi.

National Commission for Women member Khusbhu Sundar had arrived in the coastal town and conducted an investigation for two days.

“I have got the information from the police. The investigation is not over and it is going to take a long time. It can’t be decided in a matter of one day. The police have taken action as per law. The political leaders and political parties should not use this episode for political gains,” she said.

“The students are assets and the future of the country. They should be protected and all of us should behave responsibly. I am not here to blame anyone or come here as a politician. I am here as a member of the NCW,” Khushbu stated.

Presently, due to social media everyone is trying to become judges and investigation officers. No one should do this. Rumors should not be spread, let the law take its own course, she added.  

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that making videos by placing hidden cameras in the girls restroom is a despicable act. The police investigating the activist who raised the issue on Twitter raises doubts on whose directions the government is being run. The police are succumbing to the pressure of the ruling party, he added.

The videos should be seized. The Home Minister is claiming that it is a small incident. There is an attempt to hush up the matter. Was the complaint lodged against the students for no reason? Have the students tendered apologies just like that? The college management had suspended the students. The apology and confession are enough to lodge a complaint in this regard, Bommai stated.

Psychologist Dr A. Sridhara talking to IANS stated, “It is a problem at the college level. Most students behave irrationally, the best situation is when the college brings out the rational behaviour in the students.  Which Muslim family teaches to take the personal photo of a Hindu girl and make it public? Or which Hindu does it?  Those in politics can do it if they can get political leverage.”

He added: “It’s a trivial issue. When it comes to media or social media, an attempt is made to give meaning to it. We have to see political psychology in the issue. They need such issues to distract people through mass media. You neglect the grave crisis and problems the country is facing and the act or prank of three girls is made into a a big issue.”

The age of the girls involved in this is about 19 to 21 years, studying in a college. Why have they done it? It might be done for vengeance, hatred or fun. That is a thing between friends and the exact details are yet to be ascertained and there are a lot of questions. It can be looked at as an incident of ragging. Why should this be looked at as a big crime? Sridhara questioned.

On benches in classes obscene sentences are written. You visit any washroom and toilets of a college, there will be graffiti on the walls. Nowadays, graffiti is coming out in connection with religion. In this case, the picture or video is taken on a mobile. This is something which happened in college. If the picture of a Brahmin girl is taken by a Dalit girl, it would have turned into an issue between Brahmins and Dalits, he said.

The act has been brought to the notice of the principal and action has been taken. The matter ends there. It is a matter concerning the college, why is the public fascinated by this?  Why is it seen as a communal issue? Hindus and Muslims have been living together for ages. There might be issues between these communities but that can’t be a premise for going to the college campus and making it a political issue,  Sridhara opined. -IANS

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