The country has barely recovered from the horrors of the Pollachi sexual assault case, in which four men had assualted and videographed women in a bid to blackmail and silence them. A similar case has now surfaced from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.
The case came to light when a video of a 19-year-old college student being sexually assaulted by four men began doing the rounds on Tuesday. The video shows the young woman lying in a car, with four men surrounding her and assaulting her. After the video surfaced, in which the identity of the young woman is quite evident, the police approached her to file a complaint against the men.
The incident occurred sometime in late March or early April. An FIR has been registered in the case and police have arrested five men – Prajwal, Kishan, Prakyath, Gurunandan and Sunil - in connection with the incident. All of the accused are residents of Puttur, and all of them are 19 years old.
"According to the woman, the incident occurred at the end of March or the start of April. She did not reveal this to anyone at home since she was scared. They were threatening her with the video," BM Laxmi Prasad, Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police, told TNM.
According to police officials, the five men and the victim were students of a college in Puttur and were friends with each other, although they were not classmates.
The district police decided to take suo motu action in the case to stop the circulation of the video. In a statement issued on Wednesday, BM Laxmi Prasad said, “We have taken note of a video involving 3 to 4 boys with a girl is being circulated via WhatsApp. The police will take up a suo motu case in this regard. We urge members of the public not to broadcast referenced videos on social media or to save referenced videos on their phones /computers."
The statement further said that those found circulating the video, including admins of WhatsApp groups, will be charged under section 354 C (voyeurism) of the IPC, and section 66 E (violation of privacy) of the IT Act.
The police have also registered an FIR at the Women's Police Station in Puttur, under section 376 D(gang rape) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections under the The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.