The Delhi Police have filed a first information report in connection with an online group on social media platform Instagram, where teenage boys from South Delhi schools engaged in conversations about rape, and sexually objectified and shared photos of several underage girls, The Indian Express reported.
Massive outrage erupted after several social media users on Sunday posted screenshots of crude conversations from the group named “Bois locker room”. The screenshots showed members of the group – believed to be students of some top schools in Delhi and some allegedly as young as 13-years-old – sharing photos of teenage girls and making explicit comments about their bodies. The list of members of the group chat has also been released publicly.
The incident has renewed the debate about the normalisation of rape, objectification and slut-shaming of women. The hashtag #BoysLockerRoom became a top trend on Twitter on Monday, with thousands of posts.
A police officer said the administration of a private school had filed a complaint at the Saket police station. “After we came to know about this matter, we registered an FIR under sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and sections 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) of the IT Act,” Delhi Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express. “We are probing the matter and collecting all technical evidence.”
The Delhi Commission for Women also took cognisance of the matter and issued notices to the police as well as Instagram. In its notice to the police, the panel demanded that the police submit a report on the action taken in the case by May 8.
“It has been reported that the members of the group have discussed techniques of raping women and gang-raping minors,” the Delhi Commission for Women said in its notice. “This is a very serious matter in which an online platform is being openly used for illegal activities. The commission has instituted an inquiry into the matter.”
The incident triggered horror and furious reactions on social media. In a series of tweets, Me Too India – an outgrowth of the powerful global movement against sexual assault – said that there was an urgent need to address toxic masculinity.
“Tell us again how hanging four rapists in a day was supposed to strike fear in the hearts of men and boys?” they tweeted. “States can hang all the rapists they want, #boyslockerroom will continue unless the root cause of patriarchy, entitlement and toxic masculinity is addressed.”
Several others social media users also expressed anger over the incident.