A satirical piece by an American website apparently targeting the increase in sexual assaults on women in India has left Assam seething in anger over the mention of an "annual rape festival" in the northeastern state.
The Assam director general of police (DGP) Jayanto Narayan Choudhury on Thursday ordered a probe in Guwahati after the write-up was posted on Facebook, drawing angry response from netizens.
The write-up, titled 'The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week', was first posted five days ago on a website nationalreport.net which claimed to be the US' most independent news site. The report was later picked up by many other news portals and forums.
Assam is among many states in India which has seen a rise in incidents of sexual assault on women. Just a few days ago, two women were raped and murdered in the capital city, triggering mob violence against alleged police inaction.
"Men in India are already beginning to celebrate as the annual Assam Rape Festival is just days away. Every non-married girl age 7-16 will have the chance to flee to safety or get raped," the write-up said, eliciting comments ranging from incredulity to anger.
"WTF..", wrote one user Gitima Das, using the abbreviated version of a common slang phrase.
Facebook users agreed that it was meant to be a satire but took objection to naming a state. "It's satire. But u can't name a state or a country while writing a satirical piece," wrote another Facebook user Tonmoy Borkotoky.
In fact, the satirical piece also dragged in other states. "The Assam Festival began in 43 BC when Baalkrishan Tamil Nadu raped everyone in his village of Ludhiana. Baalkrishan Tamil Nadu is remembered every year at this event, in fact the trophy given to the man with the most rapes is called The Baalkrishan."
Apparently, the piece is identical to a similar piece posted by the same website, only the state targeted that time was Punjab.
Devraj Upadhyay, the superintendent of police of Assam Police's CID, said that they have already started a probe into the matter. "We have taken up a suo moto case. It is a sensitive issue and we will take up the matter with the matter with the website," Upadhyay told Hindustan Times over phone from Guwahati.
The probe will be handled by the CID's cyber crime cell.