Guwahati: The shocking incident of molestation of a17-year-old girl for over half-an-hour in full public glare in Guwahati has triggered an outrage in the country.

The video clip of the shameful incident has sparked debate on ‘whom to blame for this atrocious act’. Is it the bystanders, who with no respect for moral values quietly witnessed the whole incident or the police who took more than half-an-hour to reach the spot?

No one helped me, says the victim

"There were many people, including the media but no one helped me. The Assam police then arrived and they only helped me," the 17-year-old victim spoke to media.

"The mob tore off my clothes," she said, adding that "whoever has misbehaved with me during the incident must be given tough punishment." The girl at one stage broke down and said the incident has ruined her life.



Police are not ATM machines, says Assam DGP

An insensitive ATM machine’ remark by Assam DGP over the incident earned him a rebuke by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
      
After being slammed for delayed police action in the incident, Assam DGP Jayanta Narayan Chowdhury, defending the force, had said that the police is not like an "ATM machine" which can be present at the crime spot the moment one inserts a card in the machine.

12 identified, only four arrested  

After five days of the unfortunate incident took place in the busy street of Guwahati, the police have only arrested four of the 12men who were identified in this connection.

"One more person has been arrested and 12 others have been identified," Chowdhury said.
    
"Thanks to the prompt media coverage we have got the video clip of the brawl and have identified 12 of them. We will take strong action against the guilty,” the DGP said.

Asked about the safety of women in Guwahati, the DGP said, "This incident does not prove that there are predators lurking in the city".
    
"This is just an isolated incident when some local people took advantage of the situation and indulged in the crime," the DGP said.

One of those arrested earlier was a contractual employee of the Assam Electronic Development Corporation Ltd, Amarjyoti Kalita, who had also acted in an Assamese serial. The other two arrested were Dhanonjoy Basfor and Bulbul Das.
     
They were charged under Sec 341 (wrongful restraint), Sec 143 (unlawful assembly), Sec 294 (obscene act), Sec 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), Sec 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC following a written complaint filed by the victim's mother.

No one can make light of the incident, says Home Minister

Taking strict note of the series of events, Chidambaram on Friday said that 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.

NCW chief demands life term for molesters   

Meanwhile, expressing shock over the unfortunate incident, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma demanded that the culprits who attacked the girl should at least get life term as minimum punishment. The NCW chief also flayed the state police for their ‘ATM machine remark’ and condemned the delay in action.

“The remarks made by the police that they are not the ATM machines that they will be available everywhere and everytime is unfortunate. The state government must take stringent action against the wrongdoers,” said Sharma.

Commenting over the recent declaration of UP panchayat issuing guidelines for dress codes to be followed by the women, Sharma said, “It is unbelievable. Such khaps must be immediately banned by the state government.”  

Guwahati puts hoarding of molesters

As soon as the video showing the minor girl being molested by a mob in full public view gone viral on the Youtube, the people of Guwahati, standing united to ensure justice for the victim, put a hoarding showing the pictures of some of the accused who have committed the heinous crime.       

How the unfortunate incident happened


Narrating the sequence of events, Chowdhury said, four girls and two boys, apparently known to each other, entered the bar on Monday night, where they subsequently had a brawl and were forced outside by the establishment’s security.
    
"When the six came out on the streets, local people taking advantage of the situation pushed and pulled one of the girls and attempted to strip and molest her," the DGP said.
      
"The police were alerted and they reached the scene immediately after the incident and rescued the girl," he said.     

Such incident must not be allowed to occur, says Assam CM

State Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has termed the incident unfortunate and said it should not have been allowed to occur. He has also directed the district administration and police to monitor all bars, clubs, discos and hotels. The molested victim said she shouted for help but no one came forward.

JPN/Agencies/Mid-Day

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