Malappuram: Six youth of Kilinakkode village here have been arrested for spreading offensive material on social media and criminal intimidation. The action by Vengara police follows complaint lodged by a few girls against the vicious cyberattack targeting them for allegedly disparaging the people of Kilinakkode in a self-shot video which later went viral. One of the girls, meanwhile, explained their plight in a tearful audio clip which surfaced on Thursday.
It all started after the girls, all college students, posted a video saying that they had had a bitter experience while attending a wedding of their friend at Kilinakkode, near Vengara, in Malappuram district. In the light-hearted video, they made fun of the people and the primitive mindset of the villagers who disapproved of them taking selfies with their male friends at the wedding.
However, the video, which was meant to be shared among a WhatsApp group comprising their friends, went viral, apparently irking the village youth and leading to a counter reaction. In reply, they too posted a live video on Facebook questioning the girls’ character and alleging that they were attempting to shame Kilinakkode village after they were prevented from indulging in ‘cultureless’ activities.
They also claimed in the video that the girls had been taken into custody by police after they filed a complaint against them for insulting and disparaging their village. The video was circulated with a title suggesting that the girls turned against them for objecting to their ‘immoral behaviour’. In no time, the post’s comment section started flooding with derogatory and abusive remarks against the girls.
“The rumours that the girls had been summoned to the police station are false. Also, there is no case against them. We filed the case after the girls and their parents approached us seeking action against the youngsters,” said Vengara SI Sangeeth Punathil.
Moral policing at village?
In the latest audio clip, which has also gone viral, one of the victims narrated the ordeal they had to go through at Kilinakkode. “It was never our intention to insult the people or the village. It was just a funny video meant to be shared among our friends, but now we fear it may ruin our lives.
“Sixteen of us, including 12 girls and four boys, had gone to Kilinakkode to attend a friend’s wedding. We reached there around 1.30 pm. We had food and took selfies with the bride and left the venue within half-an-hour. When we took selfies, we had noticed many curious eyes watching us and a light whispering going round. While the boys who accompanied us returned on their motorbikes, we went back on foot. It was a remote area with poor transport facilities. When the locals told us the next bus was due only after 45 minutes, we tried to hire an autorickshaw, but to no avail.
In the meantime, a youngster came to us and made disparaging comments about our character. He asked us ‘not to roam around’ and alleged that we were wandering about with some ‘mischievous intention’.
It was he who later shot the malicious video and spread it on social media. When we ignored him and continued to walk, he followed us and started shooting us with his mobile phone. He threatened that the video would be shared on WhatsApp groups of our families and neighbours. Upon hearing this, we walked fast to escape from him. It was then we shot the video to share it with our friends who couldn’t attend the wedding. Somehow it got leaked.
“Not in our wildest dreams had we thought about the things that have been spread on social media now as said by us. The visuals of the main accused tendering apology to us in the presence of policemen have also been widely circulated. I request you to stop sharing that video. If that footage is there in your mobile gallery, please delete it,” she requested in the audio clip.