- Delhi Police filed cases linked to Instagram group, "Bois Locker Room"
- Members of this group said to be students from Delhi's top schools
- Controversy flared after users posted screengrabs on Twitter
An online group allegedly involving teenage boys from Delhi schools casually talking about rape, sexual objectification and slut-shaming schoolgirls has set off a storm on social media. Delhi Police has filed cases linked to the Instagram group, which has now been deactivated.
The cyber-crime division of the police has also written to Facebook-owned Instagram for details on the group that is every parent's worst nightmare.
The controversy flared on Sunday after several social media users posted screenshots on Instagram and Twitter of an online group called "Bois Locker Room".
They show members of the group - said to be Class 11 and 12 students from some of Delhi's top schools - posting photos of teenage girls without their consent along with comments too crude to be reproduced.
A number of conversations purportedly showed members talking about sexual assault often against their own classmates, raising questions about normalising of rape, misogyny and objectification in schools.
The allegations triggered outrage on social media with the top trending hashtag #BoysLockerRoom amassing thousands of posts on Twitter and other platforms.
The Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal called for the arrest of those associated with the group.
"The DCW has sent notices to Instagram and Delhi Police. We want these boys to be arrested immediately and the strongest action to be taken against them," she told NDTV.
A social media user, one of the first to highlight the group, wrote on Twitter, "I have never in my life been so furious. These shameless f***** are not even slightly guilty about what they've done. They're going around and hacking our accounts now. NOTHING CAN OR WILL STOP US."
The Mumbai Police, known for its social media savvy, also joined the conversation.
Boys will be boys - never an acceptable excuse earlier, will never be one ever after #StopThemYoungpic.twitter.com/sJx7nFOy4P— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) May 4, 2020
According to social media accounts that posted the screenshots, members of "Bois Locker Room" even threatened to leak nude photographs of the women who reported them and launched a second group.
Sexist attitudes, rape jokes and so called "locker room banter" are considered by experts the foundations that escalate from normalisation of rape culture to outright sexual assault.
A widely-publicised international poll in 2018, at the height of the #MeToo movement, ranked India as the most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence.