As people reacted with revulsion and outrage over the incident in Guwahati where 20 men beat, molested and tried to strip a young girl, political leaders from across the spectrum condemned the attack and demanded that those guilty receive the strongest punishment possible.
Expressing outrage over the incident, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury in her comments to NDTV, questioned what the incident said about Indian society saying, “Do we need policemen at every corner to ensure that women can walk around unharmed? What about the parents of these men? Are they going to talk to these men and tell them that what they did was wrong?”
Chowdhury also said that the men who participated in the brazen attack should be given a ‘dose of old fashioned punishment’ and said that they ought to be publicly shamed. “Their friends should stop talking to them, they shouldn’t be called to other people’s houses… the fact that none of these will happen shows that society condones and even celebrates such behavior”, she said.
Meanwhile BJP leader and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, also tweeted about the incident. “I have seen the visuals. This has not happened in Guwahati for the first time. I have just spoken to our MP from Guwahati Mrs Bijoya Chakravarty. She has just reached Guwahati and met the DG Police. We will not let this go unpunished”, she said.
The entire incident was caught on tape by a night reporter working at a local television channel called News Live.
Speaking to NDTV, the managing editor of the channel said that his reporter had been shocked at the callousness of passers by who had chosen to merely walk on and ignore the plight of the young girl.
“This is an utter shame for Guwahati. No commuters tried to intervene. No civil rights groups or woman rights groups or political groups have come out to arrest the shocking incident”, he said,
The incident had carried on for around half an hour before police rescued the girl. And despite 11 of the molesters being identified as a result of the video, the police took 48 hours to make any arrests, and even since then only three people have been arrested so far. They have been charged with outraging the modesty of a girl.