Udupi restroom video row: Mohammed Zubair peddles half information after FIRs are filed in the case, dog-whistles against ANI’s Smita Prakash yet again

Udupi restroom video row: Mohammed Zubair peddles half information after FIRs are filed in the case, dog-whistles against ANI's Smita Prakash yet again


In the wake of massive public outrage over the secret filming of the video in Netra Jyothi College, the Udupi district police have filed two cases: one against 3 Muslim female students and the college administration for deletion of the video, and another one over the uploading of the hidden camera video on YouTube channels.

Allegations arose that topless videos of Hindu girls were being recorded in the women’s washroom of Netrajyoti College in Udupi and subsequently shared with Muslim groups. The college management conducted an inquiry into the matter and concluded that the video had been deleted, closing the case. However, the case assumed massive proportions after several social media users, including Rashmi Samant and Shefali Vaidya, raised the matter and demanded an impartial inquiry into the matter.

Following the public outrage, two suo moto cases have been registered at the Malpe Police Station in the Udupi district.

A case has been filed against three Muslim students named Alimatul Shaifa, Shabanaz, and Alia, who were responsible for creating the video, as well as against the management board of Netrajyoti College. They are charged with evidence destruction. The police have registered multiple cases under sections 509, 204, 175, and 34. The other case pertains to a video uploaded on the YouTube channel of One India Kannada.

The FIR comes in the wake of outrage that swept the country after several prominent personalities and social media users, including Rashmi Samant and Shefali Vaidya, raised their voices over the lack of severity and seriousness in dealing with the Udupi restroom video case.

Interestingly, many propagandists such as AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair and Anusha Sood had then accused critics of communalising the incident and spreading misinformation.

Zubair, who is known for dog-whistling against Nupur Sharma and selectively fact-checking news items that suit his agenda, rushed to accuse Rashmi and others who talked about the incident of spreading misinformation and giving the incident a communal angle. However, like in the Nupur Sharma case where Zubair has so far refrained from fact-checking the veracity of her remarks on Prophet Muhammad, the Alt News co-founder did not mention what the misinformation Shefali, Rashmi, and others shared in connection with the Udupi case.

On similar lines, Anusha Sood of The South First, a left-wing portal that claims itself to be a media organisation but more often than not acts as a mouthpiece of the Congress party, shared an article whitewashing the criminal act of the three Muslim girls in Udupi as a mere ‘prank’ and blamed those demanding action against the culprits of adding communal colour to the incident.

The News Minute published a report where it quoted college authorities as saying that the incident was meant to be a ‘prank’. The report quoted the chairman of the college, who said the accused female students said that it was meant to be a prank, and they deleted the video in front of the victim.

How Mohammed Zubair and Southfirst’s Anusha Sood tried covering up for their fiasco in Udupi restroom video case after FIR was filed against Muslim students and for destruction of evidence

With the Udupi police registering a suo moto case in the matter, Zubair and Anusha have emphasized only those parts that aid them in cementing their positions. Instead of reporting that Udupi police had filed an FIR against three Muslim female students for filming private videos of Hindu girls, Zubair goes on to dog whistle against ANI, days after he had led a similar attack on ANI chief Smita Prakash. Zubair accused ANI of misinformation, adding that the Second FIR is linked to an old Tamil Nadu video on a hidden camera which was being circulated with doctored audio, and it was shared to give an impression that the incident was related to the Udupi incident.

In fact, it is also pertinent to note that Mohammad Zubair did not mention that the FIR had also been filed for the destruction of evidence, which is to say that a case was being built against the university management and students for deleting the offending video of Hindu girls topless, filmed secretly by the Muslim students and also failing to provide pertinent information and documents.

However, ANI simply summarised the police statement on the second FIR. ANI chief Smita Prakash tweeted that ANI tweet mentions nothing other than the Karnataka police press which does not mention any Tamil Nadu video.

It is pertinent to note that the police statement had no mention of the ‘fake news’ FIR being for an old or unrelated case and it did not mention Tamil Nadu anywhere. The ANI tweet merely summarised the police statement which was issued. Yet, Mohammad Zubair, who has made a career out of dog-whistling against Hindu women, sent his abusive followers against Smita Prakash in an attempt to not only whitewash the FIRs filed in the Udupi case but also settle scores and direct abuse at Smita Prakash, which he only did a few days ago as well.

Interestingly, Zubair was blaming ANI for peddling ‘misinformation’ while doing exactly the same himself. While ANI merely summarised the police statement, Zubair seems to have deliberately left out crucial information about the deletion of evidence in the case.

After Zubair tweeted selective information and claimed that ANI was spreading fake news, when they were not, Smita Prakash tweeted that as soon as the “dog whistler” signals, she starts getting a barrage of abusive tweets from his followers. While she did not mention Zubair by name, it was evident that she was talking about the co-founder of AltNews.

Anusha too briefly mentioned that one FIR is filed against the three students and the college administration for the act, while the second FIR was filed for spreading misinformation. She expediently omitted to mention that 3 Muslim students and the college administration were booked not just for the act but for defaming the dignity of a woman, failing to present information and documents, and deletion of the video of a student in the toilet as well.

After the fake allegations of fake news, Smita Prakash started getting a barrage of abusive tweets. Here are some abuses that she has been getting ever since Zubair decided to hound her.

Dhanya Rajendran, the Editor-in-chief of The News Minute, also defended themselves after publishing a report that sought to trivialise the sufferings of the victims. In a tweet, Rajendran said that the college chairman and three accused women said it was a ‘prank’ and that the TNM simply reported their defence. She further added keeping a camera to record in a bathroom amounts to bullying and harassment.

As the Udupi police finally filed an FIR against the three Muslim female students and the college administration for filming a private video of their fellow students, defaming the dignity of a woman, failing to present information and documents, and deletion of the video of a student in the toilet—which in itself is a vindication of the assertions made by the likes of Shefali Vaidya, Rashmi Samant, and other outspoken critics, the usual suspects are back to selectively highlighting only those developments that further their agenda and salvaging themselves for downplaying the nature of the crime committed by the accused.


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