Assam shamed twice

The molestation incident in Guwahati has become a national issue amid shocking follow-up comment by the director general of police (DGP) of Assam a few arrests made by the Assam police on Thursday evening and Friday. A fourth person was arrested for reportedly stripping and molesting a girl in a busy area in Guwahati on Monday. The union home minister P Chidambaram rebuked the DGP over the insensitive remark.

The arrested four people were among the 16 who were identified in connection with the incident in front of a bar on the Guwahati-Shillong Road, which led to a public outcry after a video of the assault by a TV channel was uploaded on the content-sharing website Youtube.

After his force was slammed for delayed action, the Assam DGP Jayanta Narayan Chowdhury said that police was not like an ATM machine, which could be present at the scene of the crime the moment one inserts a card in the machine.

Chidambaram said on Friday that no one should make light of such crimes. '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 that he would get in touch with the Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi over the incident.

The victim said that she shouted for help but no one came forward. 'There were many people, including the media, but no one helped me. The Assam police then arrived and they only helped me,' she told TV channels. 'The mob tore off my clothes,' she said, adding, 'whoever has misbehaved with me during the incident must be given tough punishment.'

Under fire from all quarters over the stripping and molestation of the girl, the Assam government constituted a one-member inquiry commission on the incident on Friday. Gogoi formed the commission under the additional chief secretary Amili Chaudhary, official sources said.

Gogoi's decisions came hours after peasant leader Akhil Gogoi demanded imposition of the President's Rule in Assam for 'worsening' law and order situation in the state.

The opposition BJP also took out a protest rally in Guwahati on Friday against the 'failure' of the state government on the law and order front.

Meanwhile, the Congress asked the Gogoi government to ensure strict punishment for the perpetrators. 'Whatever has happened in Assam is unfortunate. I condemn the incident. We have full hope that the persons responsible for the incident will get strict punishment,' the Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said in New Delhi.

The Congress high command has also taken a serious view of the matter and a team of the party's Mahila Morcha from New Delhi is scheduled to visit Guwahati soon to review the matter, party sources said.
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