Guwahati molestation case: Off-duty reporter part of mob, claims RTI activist Akhil Gogoi

Guwahati molestation case: Off-duty reporter part of mob, claims RTI activist Akhil Gogoi
Guwahati: Right to Information (RTI) activist Akhil Gogoi has alleged that an off-duty journalist played a role in the brutal molestation of a young girl by a 50-strong mob in Guwahati on Monday night. The reporter Mr Gogoi has named, Gaurav Jyoti Neog is employed with Newslive, the local Assamese channel that recorded the incident, aired it and posted the video on YouTube, where it went viral. Mr Neog has rejected the charge.

Here are the top 10 developments in this story:

  1. Mr Gogoi claims that he has in his possession video footage that proves Gaurav Jyoti Neog was not just present, but also "planned and directed" the ghastly mob attack. The RTI activist held press conferences yesterday and today to make his allegations. He showed footage at his presser today which had a voice asking for the girl being molested to be brought to a well-lit area since the camera had arrived. Mr Gogoi has suggested a forensic test to prove that the voice is Mr Neog's.

  2. Mr Gogoi says he is confident that the voice on tape is that of the reporter as his is a well-known voice. The voice, he alleges is heard making lewd comments, but that these comments were beeped out in the footage that Newslive aired. He has refused to release the footage he says he has in public, but says he will give it to the National Commission for Women (NCW), which is inquiring into the incident.

  3. Mr Neog has rejected Mr Gogoi's charges, though he does say he was present that night at the pub, Club Mint, which the victim had just left when the incident happened. He has refused to say anything else and says his managing editor will speak on his behalf. His Editor Zarir Hussain says Mr Gogoi is indulging in vendetta because his channel has questioned the activist's credibility. He says his reporter, Mr Neog in fact tried to help the girl and that Newslive has that on video. Mr Gogoi, he alleges, has played footage out of context.

  4. The NCW team, which visited the victim at her residence today, found signs of cigarette burns on her body, claims a Press Trust of India report. "There are signs of cigarette burns are all over her body besides marks of severe injury ... Animal like treatment was meted out to the hapless girl," said Alka Lamba, a member of the special team of the NCW that's probing the incident, according to PTI.

  5. The 20-year-old victim was molested at about 9:30 on Monday night for around 40 minutes on a busy street outside the pub in Guwahati's Christian Basti area. Just one kilometre away is the nearest police station, and the government's headquarters at the state secretariat. But the police took 30 minutes to get there after they received an emergency call.

  6. Dipya Bordoloi, Newslive's night reporter and a cameraperson managed to capture the incident that was subsequently aired on the channel that night. Mr Bordoloi said he tried to help the girl but was outnumbered by the many men in the mob attacking the girl. On Monday night, the channel aired edited footage - it showed just the policemen arriving to rescue the girl, about 20 minutes after she was attacked.

  7. Mr Bordoloi had, earlier, confirmed to NDTV that his colleague, Mr Neog, was present at the spot and that it was he who informed the channel about the incident. Mr Bordoloi, who was the night reporter, then reached with a camera crew.

  8. Today, Mukul Kalita, the editor of a local newspaper, Ajir Asom, told NDTV that he was passing by when he chanced upon the girl being beaten by the mob on Monday night. "She held on to me, saying 'Uncle, help me' while the mob heckled me," Mr Kalita said. He too was beaten up and his clothes were bloodstained after the incident. Mr Kalita said even after the police had rescued the girl, the mob followed her into the police jeep which was filled with armed cops, and hit her. 

  9. Of the 50-strong mob, 12 people have been identified. Just four of them have been arrested so far, even though they are on camera. The first arrest was made only on Wednesday, two days after the incident. Today the police raided some places, but there have been no more breakthroughs.

  10. The police says the main accused is a man named Amarjyoti Kalita, seen wearing a red shirt in the video. The police believe he instigated and led the mob that molested the victim. His Facebook profile describes him as James Bond.



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