A fourth person was arrested for stripping and molesting a girl in a busy area here even as an insensitive remark by Assam’s DGP over the incident earned him a rebuke by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
The arrested four were among the 16 persons who were identified in connection with the incident in front of a bar on the Guwahati-Shillong Road on Monday night, which led to a public outcry after a video of the assault by a TV channel was uploaded on YouTube.
After his force was slammed for delayed action, Assam DGP Jayanta Narayan Chowdhury said police is not like an “ATM machine” which can be present at the crime scene the moment one inserts a card in the machine.
Chidambaram said on Thursday no one should make light of an incident of molesting a woman or molesting a child and strongly condemned if any one tried to do so.
“If they have tried to make light of the incident I strongly condemn it. No one should make light of an incident of molesting a woman or molesting a child,” he told reporters in Chandigarh. The minister said he would get in touch with Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi over the incident. The home minister was asked by a newsman to comment on Chowdhury’s ATM machine remark and another remark by a senior police officer that the incident has been played up by the media in Delhi when molestation of girls from the North East in the national capital are brushed aside and suggesting that Delhi was a “rape capital”.
“The remark is in poor taste. There is no such thing as rape capital. Every incident of molestation is condemnable,” he added.
National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma also slammed the state police for the ‘ATM machine remark’ and condemned the delay in action. When asked to comment on the controversy generated by his remark, Chowdhury said sometimes it is immediately not possible to initiate action but he was critical of passersby and those who took the video for not alerting the police.
As soon as the video showing the minor girl being molested by a mob in full public view went viral, a hoarding showing the pictures of some of the accused was put up with a caption that they have shamed the Assamese society.
Why was video put on YouTube?
Social networks were flooded with angry reactions with many questioning as to why the video was uploaded on YouTube and the victim’s identity revealed. “That poor girl in Guwahati has been violated so many times over. The molestation video going viral, her identity being revealed SHAME!” Arpita Das wrote on Twitter. “No paper or TV has the right to show the face of victim. The victim’s face was shown to titillate voyeurs. The guidelines are clear,” said senior journalist Kanchan Gupta.
Booker prize winning author Arundhati Roy said, “Guwahati molestation incident is a national shame. I doubt the perpetrators may get an escape in the name of inquiry.”