A canteen worker at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, was arrested for allegedly filming a woman resident at the institute’s hostel while she was in the bathroom, the police said.
According to the institute, an employee of the hostel’s night canteen climbed a duct pipe on Sunday and tried to “violate the personal space of women residents of a hostel” but was caught by the residents and handed over to the police.
The arrested accused has been identified as Pintu Garia, 22, a native of West Bengal who worked in the canteen on a temporary basis and was hired by a private contractor who runs the facility. He will be produced before a magistrate on Wednesday. The police said he does not have a prior criminal record.
Officers said that after the incident, a few hostelers identified him based on the colour of his clothes, after which the security guards nabbed Garia and handed him over to the Powai police.
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Responding to the incident, Mahesh Reddy DCP (Zone 10) said, “The accused has been arrested under section 354C (voyeurism) and statements have been recorded. There is no footage on the phone. However, it will be sent for forensic investigation.”
In a statement issued soon after, the institute said, “The investigation, including cyber investigation, is being carried out by the Mumbai police. The institute, as per the initial report, is not aware of any footage being shared from the phone confiscated from the culprit.”
“The canteen has been shut down immediately and will reopen only if staffed exclusively by women. Gaps in the ducts, which may have been used by the suspects, have been closed. We are in discussions with the students to see what other additional steps we can take. IIT Bombay stands with its students and we will do everything in our capacity to ensure the safety and security of our students,” it added.
According to a report by Insight, the student media body at the Powai institute, a girl student raised an alarm when she noticed that someone was recording her through the window. The authorities were informed immediately.
“Bathrooms that have windows overlooking pipe areas are vulnerable to sight, as are bathrooms that have considerable gaps between the floor and the door (like Hostel 15). Unless the infrastructure of these washrooms is changed, there will be a possibility of such incidents happening again,” the report said.