Assam molestation case: News Live editor quits

Addressing a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club, Atanu Bhuyan, Editor-in-Chief of News Live, said he was surprised at chief minister Tarun Gogoi's comment on Monday criticising his reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog for not informing the police.

'After Gogoi's comment, Neog was picked up by the police and interrogated for four hours before being released. We fear the inquiry will not be impartial as the police may be influenced by Gogoi's comment,' he said.

Bhuyan said he also came to know from 'various sources' that the chief minister had wished that [Bhuyan] should resign.

'Such comments may put a pressure on the management of the channel, which is still supporting me, and it in turn may pressure me in the future. Therefore, to avoid such a situation I have decided to resign.'

Bhuyan pointed out that he was not resigning on 'grounds of moral responsibility' and stood by his reporter who did his job. Defending Neog, he said, 'It was only because of the footage recorded by him that 12 of the culprits have been arrested.'

Neog has already resigned from the organisation on 15 July following allegations by RTI activist Akhil Gogoi that he had instigated the molestation. Gogoi claimed that the molestation of the 17-year-old girl after a mob was instigated may have been part of a greater conspiracy to tarnish the image of the CM. City SSP Apurba Jiban Baruah, who had termed the class XI student's ordeal as a stray incident that was hyped by the media, has been transferred. A three-member team of senior editors will visit Guwahati to look into allegations about the role of media in the coverage of the molestation case.


RTI activist and Team Anna member Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday claimed that the recent molestation of a girl allegedly instigated by the reporter of a local news channel may have been part of a greater conspiracy to tarnish the image of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and destabilise the government.

'The channel is owned by a certain minister of the state whose wife is its CEO and the entire incident had been planned, directed, recorded, telecast and uploaded on YouTube by the news channel with a political motivation,' Gogoi said in a press conference here.

He also stated that the Chief Minister was 'weak who kept his eyes closed like Dhritarashtra and it was high time he woke up'.

The resignation of the channel's Editor-in-Chief Atanu Bhuyan has brought to the fore the control of a political class on the channel and 'we welcome the resignation and hope it will lead to more independence in Assam's media,' he said.

Bhuyan claimed he resigned on the ground that the Chief Minister's comment yesterday on the role of the journalist and his demand for the resignation of [Bhuyan and the reporter] could lead to pressure on the management.

Akhil Gogoi also demanded that the journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog who allegedly instigated the incident, should be arrested immediately along with the prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita.

'We have information that both Neog and Kalita, who are the main culprits of the incident, have a good relation and the latter has been made to flee as many facts will be exposed if he is arrested,' he claimed.

Gogoi said the channel's claim that the molested girl had not mentioned either the journalist's name or the channel was false.

'The girl has explicitly mentioned in her statement before the magistrate that the journalist was recording the event on his mobile and on seeing the camera, she tried to cover herself,' Gogoi said.
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