On July 28, a Udupi Court granted bail to the three Muslim women accused of video recording their Hindu classmates in the bathroom. Additional Civil Judge Shyam Prakash heard the bail pleas of the three accused – Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz and Alia – and granted them bail in the case concerning the ‘Udupi Videotape Scandal.’
The accused women were booked u/s 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 204 (destruction of document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence), 175 (omission to produce document or electronic record to public servant by person legally bound to produce it) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and u/s 66(e) (punishment for violation of privacy) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The accused’s counsel Advocate Asadullah Katpadi contended that the case was politically motivated and that the complaint was not filed by the affected students. Furthermore, the counsel argued that the accused were innocent while pressing for bail.
The court accepted their contentions and granted bail to the three accused. The court held that the accused must submit a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each. The court further directed the accused that they cooperate with the investigation and attend all court hearings. The court further said that the witnesses should not be intimidated.
Udupi Videotape Scandal
The video scandal unfolded on July 18, when a Hindu student found a hidden camera inside their bathroom. The women are students of Netra Jyoti College of Udupi. Following a complaint to the college administration, the three accused – Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz, and Alia – were suspended. The case went viral after reports revealed that the accused Muslim women were collecting clips of Hindu students exclusively. Reportedly, these clips of Hindu students were circulated among Muslim men or disseminated over social media platforms.
On July 24, social worker Shefali Vaidya wrote on Twitter, “Why is NO mainstream media talking about Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz and Aliya, the three Muzlim girls who secretly placed cameras in female toilets of their college and shared the videos and photos in their community WhatsApp groups? This happened in #Udupi!”
Why is NO mainstream media talking about Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz and Aliya, the three Muzlim girls who secretly placed cameras in female toilets of their college and shared the videos and photos in their community WhatsApp groups? This happened in #Udupi!
— Shefali Vaidya. 🇮🇳 (@ShefVaidya) July 24, 2023
On July 24, Rashmi Samant wrote over Twitter, “I’m from Udupi and nobody is talking about Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz and Aliya who placed cameras in female toilets of their college to record hundreds of unsuspecting Hindu girls. Videos and phots that were then circulated in community WhatsApp groups by the perpetrators.” She added, “If you have one last bone of conscience left in you, talk about what happened to the Hindu girls in Udupi so that they don’t dare to mess with our girls again.”
Let me tell you, many of the girls who were featured in the videos are depressed and disturbed to the extent that they are contemplating self-harm/suicide. Yet, this issue is not being condemned with the severity it deserves.
— Rashmi Samant (@RashmiDVS) July 23, 2023
If you have one last bone of conscience left in you, talk about what happened to the Hindu girls in Udupi so that they don't dare to mess with our girls again.
— Rashmi Samant (@RashmiDVS) July 23, 2023
Notably, Alt News founder Mohammad Zubair attempted to discredit these reports, calling the allegations against Muslim women false and baseless. However, on July 26, the Malpe Police in Karnataka registered two FIRs related to the ‘Udupi Videotape Scandal.’ The move came following a widespread backlash on social media against the police’s inaction. The first FIR has been registered against three female students who filmed other students in the washroom, and the second case is linked to uploading the same video to YouTube.
“Udupi Police has filed two cases. One case linked to three female students and college administration regarding the deletion of a video of a student filmed in the toilet. The second case is linked to the uploading of a hidden camera video on YouTube channels,” ANI wrote on Twitter on July 26.
Udupi Video Incident | Udupi Police has filed two cases. One case linked to three female students and college administration regarding deletion of a video of a student filmed in the toilet. Second case linked to uploading of a hidden camera video on YouTube channels. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/i9JWGmNOHO
— ANI (@ANI) July 26, 2023
The police said that while the first FIR concerned the complaint against the accused Muslim women for recording intimate videos of Hindu students, the second FIR pertained to uploading the same on One India Kannada YouTube channel.
Notably, a video claimed to be the Udupi Videotape Scandal was uploaded on a local news portal and shared over the microblogging site, Twitter, as well. However, the video was later clarified to be from an incident in Tamil Nadu.
The National Commission of Women (NCW) has also taken cognizance of the case. Khushbu Sundar, the South India member of the NCW, is leading the investigation during her visit to Udupi. “The NCW and the police are diligently doing their job and will conduct the investigation without acting as judges. The NCW is committed to protecting women and does not work with any communal angle in mind,” an NCW member said.