Guwahati's top police officer was on Monday shunted out following public outrage over the molestation of a teenaged girl outside a pub here and his controversial comments over the incident, in which one more arrest was made.
The Guwahati incident is no one-off. Urban India has witnessed several cases of women becoming mob targets
City SSP Apurba Jiban Baruah, who had termed the class XI student's ordeal as a stray incident that was hyped by the national media, has been transferred to Dibrugarh and replaced by SP of that city Arabinda Kalita, official sources said.
The transfer followed the demand by the National Commission for Women for the removal of Baruah and public outrage over the incident.
On the other hand, a controversy broke out on Monday over a member of the National Commission for Women's fact finding team allegedly making public the identity of the girl molested in Guwahati with a BJP leader saying it was violation of the Supreme Court directives.
Member of the NCW panel Alka Lamba, who went to Guwahati to probe the case of molestation of the girl outside a pub last week, said they were preparing a report on the issue.
BJP leader Smriti Irani alleged that Alka Lamba bypassed Supreme Court directives and made the victim's identity public.
Lamba said they were preparing the report and they need some time to finalise it.
"We should not be in a hurry because it is really a sensitive issue. We should give as much time to this. So that we can reach some conclusion and catch hold of the culprits," she said.
She said those who attacked the girl were about 12 to 20 and four of them have been arrested while others have to be identified. "Assam Police have assured us that they will take strict action," she said.
On the other hand, Assam Police arrested on Monday another accused in the molestation of a girl outside a pub here taking the number of those apprehended in the case to eight.
"Today we arrested Rupkanta Kalita from Nalbari and search operations are on in Guwahati and nearby areas, including Meghalaya where the other three other main accused may have taken refuge," a senior official said.
Another officer said the prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita has fled to Odisha and is hiding in Puri.
"We are in touch with our Odisha counterpart to track down the main culprit and bring him back to Assam," he said.
Earlier in the day, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said the key accused was traced to Bhubaneswar.
"Tracking of his (Amarjyoti Kalita) mobile phone has pointed to his presence in Bhubaneswar. Assam Police is in touch with its Odisha counterparts and we hope to trace him soon," he told reporters outside the Assembly.
Police have announced Rs. one lakh cash award for information on the whereabouts of Kalita.
Gogoi attacked the news channel that aired the footage of the molestation saying its role was 'unethical'.
It was the moral duty of the cameraman who filmed the incident to inform the police, he said, adding he was ready to meet the girl.
The issue, which has caused a public outcry, rocked the state assembly today resulting in separate walkouts by the Opposition All India United Democratic Front, AGP and BJP after Speaker Pranab Gogoi disallowed an adjournment motion to discuss the issue.
(With inputs from HT & PTI)