Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday met the girl who was molested in public here last week, and assured her of all possible help even as the issue rocked the state assembly with opposition slamming the government for lack of security for women.
Gogoi also termed the role of a local TV channel journalist who filmed the incident as "unethical", saying he should have informed police first. He also expressed hope that the remaining culprits would be arrested soon.
Sources said that police might interrogate the journalist, who had allegedly instigated the mob of 25-30 men to go after the girl.
The chief minister met the girl at his official residence at Koinadhara hills here and promised her security and financial assistance for rehabilitation.
Social Welfare Minister Akon Bora had earlier announced Rs.50,000 assistance to the girl.
Gogoi said that the prime accused, Amarjyoti Kalita, is reportedly in Bhubneswar and asserted that he will be arrested soon.
The issue also figured in the assembly on the first day of the monsoon session, with all the opposition parties staging a walkout against the speaker's decision not to allow an adjournment motion on the law and order situation in wake of the incident.
Leader of Opposition Sirajuddin Ajmal, of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), demanded the adjournment motion on the ground of deteriorating law and order across Assam "where lives of women are not secure".
AIUDF members disrupted proceedings after Speaker Pranab Gogoi rejected the adjournment motion on the ground that the matter is sub judice. The speaker then adjourned the house for 15 minutes and announced the "temporary suspension" of the AIUDF members.
The members, however, refused to leave the house and the speaker then called in the marshals to evict them. The AIUDF members later staged a walk out from the house.
Other opposition parties - the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - also staged separate walkouts from the house later on the same issue.
Meanwhile, Assam Police, who have formed a special team to carry out investigation, have arrested eight of the 12 identified culprits till Monday and said they had reports that the prime culprit was hiding in Odisha.
"We are investigating the case. There are some reports from Bhubneswar that prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita has been hiding there," said Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations) Ranjan Bhuyan, who is leading the special team.
Police have already announced a cash award of Rs.50,000 for giving information about Kalita and Rs.25,000 each for information about the rest of the alleged attackers who are on the run.
An Odisha Police official, however, said no police team from Assam has so far arrived in Bhubaneswar.
"Based on the information provided by Assam Police, we had tracked a phone in Bhubaneswar which was allegedly used to call an accused. The phone was found to be a public booth at the city railway station. We have already informed about it to the Assam Police," the police official told IANS in Bhubaneswar.
Gogoi also announced that the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here has been asked to carry out research on the reason behind increasing crime against women in Assam.
In a related development, a delegation from the All India Mahila Congress met Gogoi and demanded stern action against the editor-in-chief of a local TV news channel, whose reporter allegedly instigated the mob to strip and molest the girl, for tweeting against women after the incident.
"The editor-in-chief of the local channel have made some comment on Twitter which is against women. Stern action should be taken against him," said AIMC secretary Punam Rani Wangkhem.