Four of the 11 men who molested and stripped a teenage girl outside a pub in this main Assam city four days ago have been arrested, police said Friday as questions were raised over their tardiness in taking action on an incident that has sparked off a nationwide outrage.
All 11 have been identified and efforts are on to trace the seven other men involved in the crime Monday night, an official said.
The group molested and stripped the teenage girl after she came out with her fiends from the restaurant-cum-bar Club Mint on the busy G.S. Road Monday night. Although she cried for help, no one initially came forward to help.
Much later, senior journalist Mukul Kalita, who happened to pass by, stopped the youths and rescued her with the help of police who by then had arrived on the location.
The clip of the girl being molested was also caught on camera and went viral on the net.
"We have recorded the statement of the girl and registered a case against all those involved in the crime. We have identified all the culprits by checking the video footage captured by a local news channel," said Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Longnit Teron.
"Four of them have already been arrested and search is on to trace the rest. However, it is taking little time as most of the accused seem to have gone underground due to non-stop media coverage of the incident," Teron added.
He assured the angry people that all the culprits would be arrested soon.
The incident triggered massive reaction across the country. In Guwahati, outraged activists put up hoardings across the city with photographs of the 11 culprits and asked people to inform the police about their whereabouts.
"We have put up hoardings in some prominent places and at all the bus stops in the city. The basic objective of putting the photographs of the culprits is to help police to bring the culprits to the book and to create an awareness so that such things do not occur in future," said Avijit Sarma of the NGO Assam Public Works (APW).
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has expressed concern over the incident and said that a separate task force would be set up to deal with such crimes against women in Guwahati and other places in the state.
The administration is also planning a crackdown on bars and other such establishments which are open till late night, violating government guidelines.
But that is too little too late, said activists, questioning why the police took so long to reach the spot and why it took them four days to make the arrests even though they had the video clip to go by.
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