New Delhi, Feb 27: In an act that crossed all the limits of humanity, five monsters gangraped women, shamelessly laughed and posed before the CCTV cameras and then shared the video of the heinous crime on the popular messaging service WhatsApp.
The Supreme Court on Friday, Feb 27, sent notices to Home Ministry, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Delhi to immediately start investigation.
The Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to undertake investigation into the two rape videos that were posted on WhatsApp but nothing has been done so far to apprehend the perpetrators of the crime.
Taking suo motu cognizance of a letter sent by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said: "This is a very serious issue and something needs to be done".
Noting that the NGO in its letter has sought CBI probe into the matter, the court directed the CBI director to forthwith register the case and start investigations.
Prajwala had also sent two video in a pen drive showing a man raping a woman and another man filming it. The video, which is four to five minutes long, was sent along with a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India H.L.Dattu.
The second video which runs for 8.5 minutes shows the girl being gang rapped by five people and the perpetrators of crime smiling, cracking jokes, making video and taking photos as they went about sexually assaulting her.
Besides ordering a CBI probe, the court issued notice to the central and the Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Telengana and Delhi governments. it said a proper petition would be filed on March 9 as it directed the next hearing of the matter on March 13.
The court, while issuing notice to the central government through the union home and the communication and IT ministries asked the home ministry to forward the pen drive/DVD to the CBI Director for investigations forthwith.
Earlier this month, the sensitive matter was noticed by Hyderabad-based anti-trafficking crusader Sunitha Krishnan who launched #ShameTheRapistCampaign and uploaded the nearly 8-minute video on YouTube on Thursday, Feb 5 so that the perpetrators are identified.
"We are asked to file a detailed petition by 9th March. Case will be heard on 13th March again", Krishnan, the chief functionary of a city-based NGO 'Prajwala', wrote on her Facebook page.
The activist ensured that the face of the victim is not visible, to protect her identity.
However, the videos, that were reportedly six months old, were removed by the YouTube, saying it violated terms of services.
She approached the Supreme Court, in an attempt to ensure punishment to monsters.
On Friday, Feb 27, she took to the Twitter and wrote in a series of tweets:
"Appeal 1 CBI enquiry to all videos submitted."
"Appeal 2 Task Force in MHA to fight sexual crimes".
"Appeal 3 Public Friendly Mechanism with MHA for citizens to report such videos anonymously."
"Appeal 4 National Sex Offenders Register of convicted sex offenders which should be also made public."
"Appeal 5 MHA to tie up with Youtube & Whatsapp to hand over any videos reported "abuse" for appropriate action."
"Appeal 6 Train all senior Police Officers on cyber pornography & such abusive videos."
She also mentioned, "Supreme Court takes matter very seriously, notices sent to several states, CBI will investigate. Sure baby step."
Earlier this month, Krishnan had said,"Ten seconds into the video, I was overcome. I had to stop as I needed to throw up." She further added that a an acquaintance alerted her to the videos after receiving them on WhatsApp.
Ironically, Krishnan too was a gangrape victim when she was 15.
"People don't come forward when it comes to helping in getting the perpetrators arrested," she said.
Determined to try and change that, she asked her husband, a film-maker, to edit the video to protect the rape victim's identity and highlight the faces of the men who assaulted her."
Shortly after the videos were uploaded on YouTube, her car was vandalised at a college premises near the Charminar bus stop.
Undeterred by the attack, she posted, "If you know of anybody who has received any such videos, inform me at email@example.com," on her Facebook page. "I don't know how many people saw these videos and remained silent. WE WILL NOT."
Not even a single accused has been arrested so far, whose faces are clearly visible in the video.
Here is how Twitterati reacted: