The 16-year-old girl pawed by 30 men outside a bar on Monday night was not the first in Guwahati, often referred to as the gateway to a region where women are more equal than their counterparts elsewhere in India.
In November 2009, a mob assaulted and stripped a teenage Adivasi girl after a protest rally when horribly wrong in the Beltola locality of the city. The girl, Lakshmi Oraon,
later became symbolic of public outrage of modesty.
Last May, a mob paraded a 'drunk’ girl to a police station where she was assaulted by constables – both male and female. The punishment was captured on television camera.
On-street molesting is perhaps the latest of the c
rimes against women in Assam, which according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is one of the most vulnerable places for women to be in.
Latest NCRB figures say Assam grabbed the second spot with 36.9% crime against women in 2011. Another north-eastern state, Tripura, topped the list with 37% while militancy-troubled Nagaland had the lowest crime against women (1.9%).
The NCRB report said: "There were 228,650 incidents of crimes against women in the country out of which Assam registered 11,503 incidents." Assam Police statistics for 2011 said the highest number of cases was registered in the category of cruelty by husbands and relatives.
"Cruelty by husband and relatives accounted for 5,745 cases in 2011. There were 2,998 cases of kidnapping of women and 2,011 cases of rape for the same period," police records said.