By: Shreyashi Roy
September 19 2022
Police and the university clarified that no student died by suicide. A video of some girls fainting amid the protest was shared with false claims.
The claim that several female students at Punjab's Chandigarh University attempted suicide and that several of them have died was shared widely on social media. One video showing an unconscious woman being carried to an ambulance, was used to substantiate the claims about the deaths.
This comes amid student protests over the weekend over an alleged leak of 'objectionable' videos featuring 60 female students residing in the girl's hostel. On the evening of September 17, protests broke out at the university after students alleged that a female student recorded videos of her peers bathing and shared them with an outsider, who uploaded them on the internet. The claims led to several false narratives being shared online, resulting in a law and order situation on campus. Local police are present on campus and have arrested the accused female student, and two others including a 23-year-old Shimla-based man who she allegedly shared the videos with.
However, police and college officials have denied that the videos sent to the man in Shimla had anything to do with the other students, stating that so far, it seems that the student had shared only her videos. No other objectionable video has been found on her phone, according to official statements from Punjab's Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Gurpreet Deo and the university. However, further investigation into the matter is still being carried out, and the student's phone has also been sent for forensic analysis.
We found that along with claims that seven or eight women students of the university have attempted suicide, there are also videos of a girl being carried to an ambulance being shared to substantiate the claim. However, we found that there is no basis for the claim and that several police officials and the university have strongly disputed it.
As the protests and rumors continued, Chandigarh University denied reports of students attempting suicide or hospitalization via its official Twitter handle, on September 18.
Further, Student Welfare Head Amrinder Singh Kann told India Today that no one had attempted suicide. However, he said that as students gathered to protest, one or two female students fainted due to the heat and humidity. They were briefly administered primary aid.
Moreover, several police officials have dismissed claims that students have died by suicide as rumors. Speaking to The Quint, Navreet Singh Virk, SP Rural Mohali, said that many students had fainted because of the humidity and the huge crowd. He added that the university had called for ambulances because the police did not have first aid.
The Indian Express also quoted Mohali Deputy Commissioner Amit Talwar as saying there is no truth to these rumors and that some girls had fainted, requiring medical assistance. Meanwhile, The Tribune quoted Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vivek Sheel Soni saying that no case of attempted suicide by any woman student had come to the notice of the police. He added that no death had occurred in connection with the case. Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav also said that no death had been reported from the university.
Similarly, The Times of India quoted Additional Director General of Police Gurpreet Kaur Deo as saying that the viral video of an unconscious woman being taken to an ambulance was of one of the students who fainted at the protest. He added that she was taken to a local dispensary, treated, and discharged.
As the row continues, Chandigarh University has been shut for classes until Saturday, September 24. Meanwhile, several students have been seen returning home with their parents. On Tuesday, September 19, the university also suspended the girls' hostel warden, Rajvinder Kaur, for alleged misbehavior with the students. According to reports, she had failed to report the alleged video leak incident when it came to her knowledge and also scolded the students for protesting.
The female student has been arrested in a case under Section 354C pertaining to voyeurism under the IPC and Section 66E of the IT Act. The police are investigating allegations that a man was blackmailing the woman student who allegedly recorded and leaked the videos, reported The Indian Express.
Protests at the university have died after the administration, and the police assured the students on Monday, September 19, that the matter would be transparently and thoroughly investigated.
It is clear that according to police and official university sources, no death has occurred in relation to the incident. Rumors on social media are baseless and are misusing video footage of a female student who fainted to claim that one or more students died by suicide. The case is under investigation. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.