In yet another incident of crime against women, a 16-year-old girl was molested by around 30 men in full public view for about half an hour on Monday night outside a posh nightclub here.
The incident was witnessed by hundreds, but no one came to her rescue. The incident would have gone un-noticed but for the footage uploaded on Youtube on July 10. It sparked outrage across the nation — highlighting, as it does, the increasing incidence of lawlessness and crimes against women.
Public pressure finally forced the police to act, and on July 11 and 12, four arrests were made, although main accused Amarjyoti Kalita is still roaming free.
The teenager had gone to celebrate a friend’s birthday at Club Mint on GS Road. She was singled out and targeted after her friends left at 9.30 pm. The police team, which arrived half an hour later, said the group was evicted after a brawl.
The incident stoked massive resentment, with politicians, the women’s commission and civil society speaking up vociferously. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi set up a committee to probe the incident.
While National Commission for Women chief Mamta Sharma demanded the police “take the matter seriously”, CPM MP Brinda Karat called for prosecution of the police officers.
Assam Police chief Jayanta Narayan Chowdhury said the police were not an ATM machine — dispensing instant service — which earned him a reprimand from union home minister P Chidambaram.
“Every incident of molesting a woman is condemnable... anyone who tries to make light of the incident is condemnable,” Chidambaram said.
Team Anna member and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi, meanwhile, created a sensation when he claimed that a reporter of NewsLive TV channel — which shot and aired the video on Monday — was the main culprit.
“The reporter and his friends were at the bar and they passed comments about the girls, which started the brawl,” Gogoi said. “The reporter instigated his friends to assault the girl.”
Amarjyoti Kalita, the main accused, is a friend of the reporter, Gogoi said. “They went to the bar in the reporter’s Hyundai car. They are being safeguarded by the owner of the TV channel.”
Gogoi claimed he had a CD about the NewsLive reporter’s involvement. “I will give it to the police and the media,” he added.