Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: July 17, 2012 15:03 IST
Editor-in-Chief of Newslive, Atanu Bhuyan, said it was important to shoot the event for the truth to come out. "I still say my reporter and cameraperson did nothing wrong. An investigation is now on and the truth will come out. I still say it was important to shoot the event," Mr Bhuyan told NDTV moments after resigning. (Watch)
There has been huge debate on the role of the media and specifically the channel Newslive for the manner in which it recorded, aired and even put on Youtube the video of the young girl's ordeal.
Gaurav Jyoti Neog, the Newslive reporter who filmed the molestation, resigned from his position at the channel on Sunday. He has been summoned by the Assam Police. He will be interrogated by the police to ascertain his role, if any, in the mob attack on the girl.
Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi faces a fuselage of angry words from women politicians and activists for being insensitive in issuing a press release yesterday with the name and photograph of the molestation victim. Mr Gogoi's office later asked the media to ignore the blunder, but there are demands that he issue a public apology. Hours before the release of this press statement, Mr Gogoi had accused reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog, who was till this weekend employed with local TV channel Newslive, of being unethical in filming the mob attack on the young girl and revealing her identity. Mr Gogoi was speaking to reporters outside the state Assembly.
Left leader Brinda Karat says this is shocking and has sought a public apology. "This is lack of sensitivity. It shows that top political leaders are unaware of the victim's sensitivity. The CM taking her name is extremely unfortunate. A public apology is must in this case," she said. Others like activist Purnima Advani also found this "outrageous" and demanded apology. "It's outrageous that people who hold such high office do this. They need to apologise to women and to society at large," she added.
In its defence following the huge outrage, the chief minister's office said it had not used her real name in the statement it mailed out.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has removed Congresswoman Alka Lamba who named the victim during a press conference over the weekend and then defended that disclosure. Ms Lamba had travelled to Guwahati as part of a fact-finding committee of the NCW. The NCW has said that in addition to her injuries and trauma, the victim shows cigarette burns inflicted upon her by the mob.
Senior police officials have reportedly told the Home Ministry that Mr Neog appears to be a good friend of the main accused in the case, a man named Amar Jyoti Kalita, who remains untraceable despite being clearly visible in the footage - he is the man in a red T-shirt at the fore front of the mob frenzy.
Mr Neog was at the Guwahati pub, Club Mint, when the crime took place just outside on a main road. Akhil Gogoi, a local activist, says the channel edited the footage to remove Mr Neog's shouts to the mob adding to the frenzy. Mr Gogoi has not shared the footage he cites with anyone; he says he will present it to the National Commission for Women. Mr Neog says the allegations that he orchestrated the incident for camera, or instigated the mob to molest the victim, are baseless. He resigned from the TV channel News Live over the weekend to ensure a free and fair trial, according to his news editor. The former Newslive reporter has said that when it became evident to him that he could not fight the mob to help the victim, he called another colleague and cameraperson to record the incident so the cops would have some evidence against the attackers.
Five more people were arrested on Monday. So 11 of the mob of 50 who attacked the girl a week ago are now in police custody. The police say they have identified just 12 - of these the main accused, Amarjyoti Kalita is yet to be arrested. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Guwahati, Apurba Jeevan Barua has been transferred. He downplayed the teenager's ordeal as "stray incident" and accused the Delhi media of blowing the matter out of proportion.
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