The Delhi Police have registered a case against an Indian YouTuber who posted a video of a ‘prank’ in which he kissed unsuspecting women in public and then ran away.
A YouTuber calling himself “Crazy Sumit” posted the video on his channel, describing it as the “Funniest Indian YouTube prank of 2017”. The channel has more than 150,000 subscribers.
The video, which has now been deleted, shows him going up to three different women in public places and kissing them unexpectedly. In one scene, the woman is walking with a man. When Verma approaches them, he pushes the man away as he simultaneously kisses the woman, before fleeing as the man gives chase.
It is unclear exactly when he posted the video, but it came to light only days after reports of a mass molestation on New Year’s Eve in Bangalore. Women said that they were groped, en masse, at a street celebration in the city. The scandal increased when the Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara blamed Indian women for dressing “like Westerners”, shrugging off the incident by saying, “These things do happen”. Social media users made the link between the Bangalore incident and the sexual harassment in "Crazy Sumit"'s video.
The video immediately drew a backlash on social media, with many users decrying it as sexual harassment. Fellow YouTube pranksters Troubleseekers publicly criticised the video in their own video response, saying "harassing women or anybody can never be taken as entertainment". They added, "It's simply molestation."
Delhi Police said that it was investigating the video and looking into whether a criminal charge should be brought. The force also urged the women filmed in the video to come forward and lodge a formal complaint.
“This is a criminal offence, it is a perversion and we know the desire to get more hits is linked to profit,” Depender Pathak, the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police, said to Indian media.
Swati Maliwal, head of the Delhi Commission for Women, has also condemned the video. "It’s perversion, not humour," Ms Maliwal tweeted.
“Crazy Sumit” later published an apology video in which he faces the camera and repeatedly says sorry. “I didn’t know the video would go viral to this extent. I apologise for this prank and it will never happen again,” the YouTuber said, adding that the video was just “entertainment.” The apology video has also since been taken down.