Mumbai

Instagram suspends account posting videos of harassment

Even as millions of women across the world share their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment using the hashtag #MeToo on social media, an Instagram account by a city user was suspended on Tuesday for posting videos of himself touching unsuspecting women in public.

A large number of instagrammers alerted Mumbai Police to the account, v9nair, run by a user who identifies himself as Vinay Nair and claims to be a “big fan of backless blouse wearing women”. The account, which has so far posted 63 videos of women being touched inappropriately without their knowledge, has 1,731 followers. Officials confirmed that an inquiry has been initiated into the matter.

The account user targetted women wearing backless blouses or blouses with low backs. He used to first film them from a distance using what appears to be a cell phone or a hidden camera, and then would walk closer to them and touch their backs. In some videos, the user is seen walking past the women after touching them, and in other instances, asking them for directions.

The user even geo-tagged the videos to the locations where the women were molested. The places where the instances of sexual harassment took place include Thane, Bhandup, Ghatkopar, Borivali and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. A couple of videos were filmed on local trains. The user adds a slow motion effect to portions in the video where he’s actually touching the women.

Appreciative followers

A majority of the videos have comments from followers that are appreciative of the acts. In reply to a video showing the user touching two women, a follower has commented, “Kya baat hai yaar...double mazaa.” Some of his followers have praised his courage and posted comments asking him how he gets away with sexual harassment.

In several videos, the women targetted by the user turn around to look at him. However, they just give him an uncomfortable or angry look before turning away without raising an alarm. One woman pulls her sari around her to cover herself but also chooses not to say anything or even look back.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Twitter user shared the link to the Instagram account, and some of her followers tagged the Mumbai Police’s official Twitter handle. The police replied saying they would inquire into the matter and take action. A lot of Twitter users have reported the account to Instagram, which, apart from the videos, also has pictures of women with backless blouses.

Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), said the matter was being taken very seriously. Mr. Bharti said, “We have initiated inquiries into the case and will take appropriate action soon.” The Hindu tried contacting the user by sending a direct message via Instagram, but did not receive any response.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 7:14:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/instagram-suspends-account-posting-videos-of-harassment/article19878691.ece

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