Even as the July 9 molestation of a girl in the city by a gang rocked the Assam Assembly on Monday, outside the House, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the Government had asked the CID to probe the allegation that a television journalist instigated the incident.
Speaking to journalists, the Chief Minister admitted his lapses and said the police was at fault. The journalist too had a responsibility but he did not inform the police. “It was alright he was taking video [of the incident]. But why didn’t he inform the police? Journalist also did not do his job. Were not others present too responsible? Police is also at fault. It has reflected on me as I am the Home Minister. Yes, there have been lapses of my department too. That is why I have ordered a probe.”
Mr Gogoi said it was unethical on the part of journalists to ask what the name of the victim is and to reveal her identity.
In another development, the victim met the Chief Minister at his official residence and narrated the incident. He assured her that not a single guilty person would be allowed to go scot-free.
An official release said she sought assistance and when she expressed her desire to open a parlour, Mr Gogoi assured her that he would provide Rs. 50,000 from the Chief Minister's relief fund, and also look into her housing problem.
Meanwhile, the city Senior Superintendent of Police, Apurba Jibon Barua, was transferred to Dibrugarh district. The police have so far arrested eight molesters, one of them earlier in the day.
Uproar in Assembly
In the Assembly, the opposition parties — the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — sought adjournment of the House to discuss the issue of growing insecurity of women and deterioration of the law and order situation.
They also cited the attacks on Congress legislator Rumi Nath and on members of the Public Accounts Committee of the House by miscreants.
While the treasury benches agreed to a one-hour discussion immediately after question hour, they opposed adjournment motions moved by the AGP and the BJP during zero hour, on the ground that the molestation incident was sub judice and an enquiry had been ordered under the Commission of Inquiry Act.
The Speaker ordered the suspension of all 18 AIUDF members when they disrupted question hour. However, as they persisted with their demand, amidst chaos, the marshal and deputy marshals and watch and ward staff entered the House to evict them.
A little later, after a brief adjournment, the Speaker withdrew the suspension order at the request of the treasury benches. However, the AIUDF members continued with their demand and question hour began amidst uproar. The AIUDF legislators moved to the well, and later staged a walkout. The AGP and BJP members also walked out after their adjournment motions were rejected.
The Speaker, in his ruling, strongly condemned the molestation of the girl and appealed to the Government to mete out the strictest punishment in accordance with law and to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
In reply to a question, Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said 16 persons had been arrested on charges of attacking Ms Rumi Nath and her second husband Abu Sahid Zakir Hussain on June 29, while three personal security officers of the legislator were suspended for dereliction of duty. The Cachar Superintendent of Police had initiated departmental proceedings against the three PSOs.