New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday set a 48 hour deadline for the state police to nab the culprits in the horrific public molestation of a minor at a busy road in Guwahati on Monday night for full 30 minutes by a mob of around 20 men.
Nearly 13 of the 20 men have been identified from the footage of the incident, which was shot by a News Live cameraperson. Out of 13, only four have been arrested five days after the incident.
The case has sent shock waves across the country with people, politicians and the press demanding justice.
Chief Minister Gogoi on Friday evening appointed a Special Task Force to look into the matter. Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women formed a three-member team which is in Guwahati to conduct a probe.
Meanwhile, posters have been put up across the city with the faces of the 13 accused to help the police nab the men.
The key question: What needs to be done to prevent such incidents
The incident has once again stepped up the 'safety for women' debate in the country. It also raises other questions as to how can we prevent incidents like Guwahati from happening again and also whether there is no fear of the law in India.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said, "It's a case for intelligent policing. Secondly, it's a case for better deployment, better people at the right places, people who know policing. And third, co-opt people in peace time. Unless you co-opt civil defence, home guards, resident associations, market associations and even have cameras outside the pubs which means a case for co-option."
BJP leader Smriti Irani said, "We've become a nation of headline chasers. Our outrage lasts till the headline lasts. We forget that girls molested and sexual harassment on the streets of this nation everyday."
Human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover said stronger laws against sexual harassment and molestation were required in the country. "All of them are bailable offences. We have been pleading with the Home Ministry to please pass the Criminal Law amendment to change the law relating to sexual assault. It is not on the priority of the Home Ministry."
Molestation: Indian laws make a mockery of it
After the dignity of a young girl of 17 was shattered and ripped apart in full public view by a mob of around 20 men at a busy road in the capital city of Assam, the state police has managed to arrest only 4 of the accused.
The arrests are too little too late as they came four days after the incident. According to News Live, the channel that shot the video, the action came only after they aired the video.
This puts a big question mark on the seriousness with which India takes the dignity and the right to dignity of the other half of its population. One look at the laws is enough to make you understand that the dignity of women is only worth Rs 500 in India, a peanut when compared to the Rs 2,000 that traffic violators are made to pay.
Molestation and Indian laws
- Section 341 (Wrongful Restraint): Simple Imprisonment for 1 month, or a fine of Rs 500, or both.
- Section 143 (Unlawful Assembly): Imprisonment for 6 months, or fine, or both.
- Section 294 (Obscene Act): Imprisonment for 3 months, or fine, or both.
- Section 323 (Voluntarily Causing Hurt): Imprisonment for 1 year, or fine of Rs 1,000, or both.
- Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty): Imprisonment for 2 years, or fine, or both.