Many women college students in Bengaluru recently woke up to the shocking news of photos on social media sites being circulated on porn sites. Ramaiah College, St Joseph’s College, and RSNIT College students raised a complaint with the college authorities when they found their photographs have been uploaded on porn sites. A complaint was filed by college authorities to the Cyber Cell of Bengaluru Police. It was found that a classmate of one of the victims along with an unemployed techie allegedly stole the pictures from social media sites and sold them to porn sites to make some easy money.

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Who are the Perpetrators?

The accused techie is a 37-year-old man who used to work at an IT firm in Manyata tech park in Bengaluru. The accused student aged 27, is a final year law student in Bengaluru. They had been allegedly blackmailing the women and have demanded money from them. The duo has been reportedly careful enough to avoid any financial transactions online and collected the money offline.

Bengaluru Police is yet to investigate how the perpetrators managed to blackmail and make the women heed to their demands. As of now, both the suspects have been arrested and are under police custody. It has been found that female students and lecturers have been targeted and more than 40 morphed photos have been uploaded on porn sites.

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Fear and panic among students

*Messages on WhatsApp and social media are making rounds, warning students to deactivate their social media accounts out of precaution. The students had approached the police after they found out their photos doing rounds on porn sites. The Bangalore Student Community reportedly wrote a letter to the inspector stating that, “college students are feeling very vulnerable and worried about their social spaces”. Upon receiving this complaint, the police wrote to the porn sites to take the pictures down.

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Some Questions

The fear and panic among students along with tendencies to victim blame makes it difficult to extend support to the victims. Social media is a space where creators create content, run businesses and make living their social presence. In such a scenario, if fear like this pervades within the social media space then what does it mean for the future of female content creators? How active is our cyber crime cell to handle and tackle such nuisance? These are some serious questions that the authorities have to answer.

Priyanka Chakrabarty is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

*Note: Priyanka is a student at St Joseph’s College of Law and confirms receiving a cautionary message on her class group to deactivate her social media account. 

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