Tag Archives: Assam

Assamese Gang Apprehended in Chennai for Circulating Fake Indian Currency Notes


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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“City residents should be cautious about transactions involving currency and must alert the police if they find anything suspicious.”
S. George, Chennai Police Commissioner.

A file photo of fake Indian currency र1000 and र500 displayed at Chennai Police Commissioner Office (Photo : S.Thanthoni / thehindu.com)
A file photo of fake Indian currency र1000 and र500 displayed at Chennai Police Commissioner Office (Photo : S. Thanthoni / thehindu.com)

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Chennaites are now apprehensive and cautious when accepting र1,000 currency notes.

On New Year’s Day, the Fishing Harbour police in Chennai arrested three men from Assam when they attempted to purchase a wristwatch at a showroom on Adam Sahib Street in Royapuram using fake Indian currency notes.

According to C. Sridhar, joint commissioner of police, North, the shop owner suspected the trio when they gave a thousand rupee counterfeit note as payment for the wristwatch, and he alerted the police.

The police arrested the suspects and then raided the house in Manali New Town where they were staying. There the police found four more fake notes along with र30,000 genuine currency and various items purchased by the gang using fake notes. The three identified as Hameed Rehman (19), Rafiqul Islam (22) and Fasil Islam (28) were arrested for circulating fake Indian currency notes of र1,000 denomination.

The three arrested men from Assam had come to Chennai six months ago and were working as security guards at a private firm in Manali. Three more Assamese frequently visited the city and replenished them with almost-genuine fake Indian currency notes originating from Maldah district in West Bengal. The three Assamese security guards had exploited the counterfeit currency in shopping hubs Purasawalkam, Washermenpet, T. Nagar, and in various other areas in the city. They even maintained bank accounts to deposit their harvest from the exchanges.

On Saturday, January 4, 2013, another private security guard, identified as Jelbar Hosfin (21) from Assam, tendered a fake र1,000 note at a photocopying shop in New Colony, Adambakkam, for taking a few photo copies. The shop owner, suspecting the note to be a fake, alerted the police.

Police took Hosfin into custody. When RBI officials confirmed the note was a fake, Hosfin told the police that his friend Mohammad Quaid Ali, employed with a private security agency in Koyambedu had given the note to him and asked him to spend र500 and return the balance.

The police team picked up Quaid Ali from his office and recovered र2.74 lakh fake Indian currency notes he had hidden in a pile of sand dumped at a construction site near his office in Brindavan Nagar, Adambakkam. Quaid Ali also revealed that he got the counterfeit currencies from Saddam Hussain, believed to be the brain behind the network circulating fake notes in Chennai, the police said.

The special police team traced Saddam Hussain to a hideout in the city and arrested him.

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The police seized some debit cards from the arrested duo and also recovered Rs. 19,900, which they had obtained in exchange of purchases made with the counterfeit notes. (Photo - B. Jothi Ramalingam - one.in)
The police seized some debit cards from the arrested duo and recovered Rs. 19,900, which they had obtained in exchange of purchases made with the counterfeit notes. (Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / one.in)

 

The three men – Jelbar Hosfin, Mohammad Quaid Ali, and Sdadam Hussain – revealed that they had so far harvested र19,000 in genuine money by circulating र1,000 counterfeit currency notes totalling र26,000. Three remit cards used by the accused to deposit money in bank accounts after the counterfeit harvest were also seized from Saddam Hussain.

These three culprits seem to have a connection with the three arrested at the beginning of the year for trying to circulate fake notes, police said. Saddam Hussain is the brother of one of the three arrested earlier.

S. Thirugnanam, South Chennai joint commissioner of police said that Saddam Hussain had stayed in the Chennai for some time in 2011. He then returned  to Chennai in 2012 and brought several people from Assam and got them jobs as security guards and construction workers.

Chennai Police Commissioner S. George said the case would be transferred to CB-CID, the main agency that deals with such cases.

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Assam Moves an Hour Ahead of IST


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Tea plantation in Assam
Tea plantation in Assam

Surprisingly, though India is a very large country spanning more than 15 degrees of longitude, from points further east than Bangladesh to the western Arabian Sea, it has only one time zone of +5:30 from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Indian Standard Time (IST) corresponds to 82.5°E longitude. Though this line passes through several major Indian cities, the Vindhyachal town, west of the town of Mirzapur near Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh is most cited.

The difference in longitude between Vindhyachal town and the United Kingdom’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich translates to an exact time difference of 5 hours 30 minutes. Though the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, has the task of officially keeping time, a clock tower at the Allahabad Observatory (25.15°N 82.5°E) is used to calculate Indian local time.

Since there is only one time zone throughout India, states to the east of this longitude have less daylight hours in comparison to the other states lying west of Vindhyachal town.

Parts of eastern India, particularly the Northeast, bear the twin burden of very early summer sunrises and very early winter sunsets. Parts of the Northeast are brighter by about 4 am in June and dark before 5 pm in December.

Pre-independence India had two time zones – the Calcutta Time and the Bombay Time. In the East, Calcutta Time was 5:30:21 hours ahead of GMT, while Bombay Time in the West was 4:51:00 hours ahead of GMT. Calcutta Time was abandoned in 1948 and Bombay Time in 1955.

Since independence in 1947, the IST has been the official time for the whole country.

In the research paper published in 2012, scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore recommended advancing IST by half-hour, setting it at +6.00 GMT instead of the current +5.30 GMT by shifting the time zone from 82.5°E longitude to 90°E longitude, closer to the Assam-Bengal border. This move will benefit all states in India, not just the northeast, by saving more than 2.7 billion units of electricity – enough to power 1.35 million more urban middle-class homes.

 

Dr. Dilip Ahuja, Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore
Dr. Dilip Ahuja, NIAS, Bangalore

Dr. Dilip Ahuja, author of the 2012 research paper, in response to queries by email said that different time zones can be potentially problematic in India.

“Government offices in those states will close at different times and would be accessible only 75% of the time which can cause a potential loss of productivity.”

Dr. Ahuja also said that different time zones could cause chaos for Indian railways, although airlines may still manage.

“India is a country where trains change tracks by manual switching. Different time zones could cause major confusion in communications between train operators and lead to accidents.”

Additional daylight hours in the evenings would be people-friendly, would help save power at home and in offices, reduce petty crimes among other gains, scientists have said.

Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA - Centre for Aviation, India
Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA – Centre for Aviation, India

Mr. Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia CAPA – Centre for Aviation, India, said:

“Separate time zone would not have a major impact on airlines, except they will have to adapt to arrival and departure timings. In the US, there is a time difference between West coast and East coast, but it does not create big problems for airlines.”

Earlier, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, too has found that the 116-minute time difference between the easternmost and westernmost points of India imply that two time zones for the country may be apt. However, The Department of Science and Technology has recommended otherwise.

The Centre discarded the move citing administrative challenges.

Now, the state of Assam has decided to follow the ‘chaibagaan’ time instead of the Indian Standard Time that was in vogue more than 150 years ago.

Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam
Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam

Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam, had said that IST has not only affected productivity, but also has forced the state to follow a schedule not suitable to the time zone Assam is in. Gogoi is quoted as saying:

“The northeastern states have been asking New Delhi for a separate time zone. We have now decided to set our clocks to bagaan time.”

More than 150 years ago, the British introduced the chaibagaan time (or bagaan time), a daylight saving schedule for better energy savings on tea plantations and reflects labour laws, such as the Plantations Labour Act of 1951, which allows governments to set local times for particular areas. Tea gardens in Assam already work to local clocks set an hour in advance of IST.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the change in time zone will help not only cut down on energy consumption, but also will help people to become more energetic.

The clocks in Assam would soon be advanced by an hour ahead of the IST. However, Tarun Gogoi has not stated whether the Centre has accepted the decision.

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Spoof: Part 2 – Rape Festival In Assam, India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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The American news satire website NATIONAL REPORT claim and labels itself as “America’s #1 Independent News Team”. But it is better known for pushing the boundaries of good taste than making its readers laugh. On November 2, 2013, it published a post titled “The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week.

Earlier on January 8, 2013, the SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS posted the article titled “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week“. The NATIONAL REPORT just copied that article word-for-word. The only change was in the title – the Indian state “Assam” was substituted in lieu of “Punjab” to read: “The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week.

The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week

The article claiming a non-existent, wishful (in the mind of the author) vulgar event taking place in India was a spoof by a person writing under the pseudonym Jimmy Rustling.

Jimmy Rustling

The social media was abuzz with reactions to the article. So far, it has been shared more than 312,000 times on Facebook and around 3,000 times on Twitter. It has besmirched the image of Assam and has sparked widespread protests in the state.

The article does not display any disclaimer saying it is a spoof. However, there is a general Disclaimer page on the NATIONAL REPORT website:

DISCLAIMER: National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental . The views expressed by writers on this site are theirs alone and are not reflective of the fine journalistic and editorial integrity of National Report. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help (and you may be if you are on this page), please consult a professional. National Report is intended for a mature audience and not for children under the age of 18.

Linked to the “Rape Festival” articles in SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS and NATIONAL REPORT is a common website Giveindia.org that looks like a genuine Indian website seeking donations for the welfare of Indian women.

At the end of the article there is the following statement:

For more information about the festival or if you would like to participate, please call the 24-hour India Rape Festival hotline at (785) 273-0325.

Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr.
Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr.

I googled and found that the given hot line number (785) 273-0325 belongs to Fred W. Phelps Sr., an American pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas in 1955. Address: Westboro Baptist Church, Address: 3701 SW 12th St, Topeka, KS 66604, United States.

According to Phelps, basically everyone, who isn’t a part of their “religion” and “church” is doomed and will go to hell.

 

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Phelps’ group protests all over the United States at Gay funerals and Soldiers funerals. The first Amendment under the U.S. Constitution protects them to do these despicable hate acts.

Although the  “church” started as only hating “fags” they have now moved on to hate Australians, Canadians, Jews, Swedish, and even the Amish. To picket hey use signs such as: “God Hates Fags“, “Fags Hate God“, “America Is Doomed“, “Soldiers Die God Laughs“, “Thank God for 9/11“, etc.

Many people in USA, India and other countries believed the contents of the article as a true fact even though no such festival exists or existed in any part of India. And the article was widely shared even now via social media. It has been blindly copied and posted in sundry websites around the world without verifying the facts, thereby tarnishing the image of India.

Here is an example of this spurious, apocryphal copying:

The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week - news.ugo.co.ug

On November 6, 2013, Patricia Kahill, posted the article verbatim without verifying facts in UGOnews with the following introduction:

Reports from National Report say that this week in Indian men readied themselves to begin celebrating the annual Assam Rape festival. This festival sees that every unmarried girl between the age of 7-16 who has not been hidden is raped. (sic)

This article published in UGOnews evoked many scathing comments. I have reproduced some of them here:

Prashant Moni · Textiles
It is very sad that some mentally sick peoples are publishing the scenario of a region in a very bad manner. To be make clear that there is NO ANY SUCH FESTIVAL in Assam or even in any other region in India. This is nothing but an output of mentally sick person (s). (sic)

Rajeev Gohain · J.B College, Jorhat
What a rubbish story. The picture is from a festival from Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu is lakhs km far. The names are not Assamese. The creator of this story is that the psychic who is dreaming about this type of festival , so that he also can go and participate it.. I am requesting to whole the world not to believe this type of fake story, but come and enjoy a beautiful green Assam famous for One horned Rhino and Tea.

Ashish Das · Online Entrepreneur and Blogger
Stupid website… research before publishing.

Manashwi Sharma · Student
This is absolutely NOT TRUE. There is no such freaking festival celebrated in Assam or in any part of India. I Request everyone NOT TO BELIEVE whatever is written on this website. This is totally a FALSE NEWS.

Prasanta Dutta · Guwahati College
I am from Assam and 33 year’s old, Its a is totally a Stupid news. Women is always respected in Assam more than other part of the world. (sic)

Sukanya Goswami · Dibrugarh University
this is unacceptable!!! shame on your mentality!!! u people published such a wrong thing about a region without knowing any thing!!! shame on u!!!! go and research before doing such stupid things!!!! u people dont knw any thing ,never heard about assam and but ready to publish nonsense about it!!! stupid website!!!! (sic)

Shreeja V Shetty · Software Tester at GlowTouch Technologies
Well this news is surely not true. India is a lovely country. But action should be taken on the one who wrote this! So that nobody repeats such nonsense again!

Lekha Borah · Works at Working as a Freelance Photographer
Want to make it clear that there is no this kind of \\”DIRTY FESTIVAL IN ASSAM”// or in INDIA. This is nothing but a fake RUMOUR of some mentally sick persons.Very sad and very shameful thing happened made by psycho people. (sic)

Slickèr Qalie Ndlovu · Member, Organisation of African Youth (Zimbabwe)
people stop lying please (sic)

On November 12, 2013, Patricia Kahill posted another article in UGOnews titled “The Controversial Assam Rape Festival” in which she says:

Last week we reported about the Assam rape festival a controversial and satire story that was first published by National Report a USA based website, lead to a number of comments on our site from the Indian community.

According to Lets Gist the point of the story was activism, to educate people about what is going on  in India on a daily basis, because a lot of people don’t know.

Hindustan Times received a statement from Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam immediately that said:

“the fraudulent and extremely unethical article about the completely fictitious festival is an act of serious disrespect and total disregard shown towards the humble and unsuspecting people of our beautiful state of Assam. The writer of such a piece of pure evil is not fit for human society.”

Bharat Narah, press adviser to Gogoi, told Gulf News:

The Assam Rape Festival article is not at all humorous. It is distasteful, unethical, abominable, despicable and must be abhorred by all sections of society. We have taken up a suo moto case against the website and the author of the piece. It is a highly sensitive matter which cannot be ignored. We are assessing all our options and are in touch with the Cyber Cell of the Police Department.

Regardless of race, culture, or nationality, any decent and moral person should be offended by this filth. Media plays a very critical role in forming opinions. If media will start acting so naively, then the responsibility of spreading information through media should be taken away. We Indians know that this news is totally fake, but people in other parts of the world are getting the wrong message about our nation. This mischief by the media should be dealt with very strictly.

The comment by Nancy Powell, US ambassador to India, when she addressed the students of Xavier Institute of Social Science (XISS) in Ranchi, on November 19, 2013, is an epiphany for the state of affairs now prevailing in India.

When a student asked: “Why aren’t American students coming to India for studies?

She replied: “The concern for personal security and perceived increased danger to women as a result of the rape cases was perhaps a factor in US students’ decision regarding study in India.”

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← Previous post – Spoof: Part 1 – Rape Festival In Punjab, India

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← Previous Spoof: Part 1 – Rape Festival In Punjab, India

Spoof: Part 1 – Rape Festival In Punjab, India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On January 8, 2013, an American website SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS posted an article titled: “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week,” written by a person using the pseudonym ‘Jimmy Rustling‘.

The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week

Since January 2013, this article, camouflaged as a news item, circulated through blogs, email, and social media. Its claim that the tradition of the Punjab Rape Festival dates back to 43 BC is utter nonsense. Factually, there is no such event as the Punjab Rape Festival. The story was simply concocted by the psychotic Jimmy Rustling.

This obviously false story caused a great deal of apprehension and dismay after it spread through the media. Not realizing that there is no such event and never ever was, many decried the imaginary event and wanted it stopped.

Here is an example of one such silly call titled “HELP ME STOP’The Punjabi Rape Festival in India by Neil Padayachee posted on January 16, 2013.

'HELP ME STOP'The Punjabi Rape Festival in India

The comments for the post “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week”  show that the average follower of SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS  is an ignoramus who could be manipulated to believe any unauthenticated absurd news, as he would when he reads the religious scriptures, mainly because it is in print.

As usual, pranksters too joined in and added fuel by defending the festival and stating they were looking forward to participating in the hypothetical event.

Sarab H:
This is so messed up! I demand justice!

M ShelatI agree. Something needs to be done to stop this!

Mark Dauglas ZnenitzI would go to this festival. Probably not participate but I would go

Eva Monreli: They are not even considering that one can get viral diseases (Like AIDS)from these people. This should be stopped!

Holly Marys: I have many many many MANY demons in me that need uncorking. May I, as an American and not Punjabi, participate so that I may perhaps be rid of my demons once and for all?

Catherine: Sick people! This is 2013 for God’s sake. Stop these archaic Men form doing injustice to the girl child.

Naga sadhus who had gathered at the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013.
Naga sadhus who had gathered at the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013.

The above photo of Naga sadhus at the Kumbh mela was used along with the ‘rape festival’ story. This photo of Naga sadhus gathered at the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013, deceives readers into believing that the Hindu sadhus were rushing to rape unmarried girls in the age group 7 to 16 years.

Sharell Cook
Sharell Cook

Sharell Cook, an Australian traveller researching distinctive cultures from her early 20s, initially visited India in the year 2000 and found it a total assault on her senses, confronting, but then oddly inspiring and captivating. Even today, this impression about India has not changed. Even now, Sharell is residing in cosmopolitan Mumbai where she writes full-time while learning Hindi. This is her impression about the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela:

The Kumbh Mela in India is as mesmerizing as it is spiritual.  This ancient northern Indian festival is a meeting of mystical minds. The largest religious gathering in the world, the Kumbh Mela brings Hindu holy men together to discuss their faith and disseminate information about their religion. It’s attended by millions of people each day.

Many Indians living in the United States called for the removal of the article from the website and wanted authorities to take punitive action against the author and the website that published it.

In late January 2013, the writer responding to the angry calls posted the following message on his Facebook Page:

Paul Horner alias Jimmy Rustling
Paul Horner alias Jimmy Rustling

I’ve been getting emails from people saying that I should remove my story entitled, “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week.”

The point of the story was an activism piece to educate people about what is going on over there on a daily basis, because a lot of people don’t know. I read everything I can get my hands on and every day there’s another story about another horrible rape or murder of a young girl in India…. usually where the guy gets off, not being punished, or worse, where the victim is forced to marry her attacker.

So I wrote up the most exaggerated, ridiculous thing I could think of… it gets people to pass around the story and then question what’s going on over there if they didn’t already know. A simple Google search of “Punjab rape” brings up 100+ different stories of young girls getting raped, murdered, forced to marry the man who raped them… it’s disgusting.

Anyway, that’s the point of the story and I’m not pulling the article.

In an email to hoax-slayer.com the author wrote:

One of the other MAJOR factors for doing the story was collecting money for the women of India for schooling, clothes, help in leaving abusive situations. So, a few months ago I added this to the bottom of the story:

WANT TO HELP THE WOMEN IN INDIA? THEN DO SOMETHING!
Click here to learn more.

I checked out that charity thoroughly. They are 100% legit giving 90-95% of collected funds to the cause.

To keep the controversial “Rape Festival” spark alive, SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS on May 7, 2013, posted yet another spoof story in bad taste written by Jimmy Rustling titled: “Surprise Winner At This Years Punjab Rape Festival.

Surprise Winner At This Years Punjab Rape Festival

Once again the stupid readers of this post came out with absurdities:

Sarah H: They give awards to men in India for raping woman? WOW.

Samantha: This is just disgusting! They don’t arrest them for rape but they give them awards??? SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS!

Lena: Govt must come forward to support RAPE FESTIVAL. This is the only world class entertainment ,where every one love to participate. Tourist visits to India ,will generate collosal amount for the nation. Allow everyone to participate,give them FREE CHANCE to win award. GOVT must provide FREE VISA Access. Let people of the world to enjoy and feel free to taste of RAPE. RAPE reduces heat,its good for health and for the growth of man kind. C.M needs to be changed,since he wants to snatch this freedom from people of punjab, which is against the will of the nation. Democracy in India should not tarnished at any cost.

Readers of SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS made these comments despite the following image posted proudly on its site on the page “Super Official Awards.”

Fox News Called Super Official News A 'Fake News Site'

The name Jim Rustling is the pseudonym of an author named Paul Horner, a Staff Writer for NATIONAL REPORT who claims to have won numerous awards for journalism including a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

How authentic are the writings of Jimmy Rustling a.k.a. Paul Horner?

You will find the answer if you read the article titled “President Obama Presents Paul Horner With Super Universe Ultimate Award For Excellence In Winning The Game” posted on November 5, 2012 in SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS.

I understand that  “Fred Dursk” is another pseudonym of Paul Horner. Now, I wonder how many other pseudonyms this person has, and whether the name “Paul Horner” itself is real, or is it another pseudonym of some other person hiding behind these names.

A disclaimer right at the bottom of the posts in SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS reads as follows:

Disclaimer: Lulz killing of any kind will not be tolerated. If you are being a buzzkill, your comment can be altered or deleted. This entire site is pretty much just a resume containing a collection of my writings and such for the off chance that someone like The Onion or The Daily Show ever happens to stop by. Until then just remember, if it’s on the internet it must be true.

Next → Spoof: Part 2 – Rape Festival In Assam, India

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An Urgent Appeal to the People from North East India …


Safer Delhi

North East Support Centre and Helpline Team has been receiving calls from different areas in Delhi. The callers claimed that some people from the Northeast were killed last night in some areas of Delhi. North East Helpline Team checked with the Delhi Police, Media and friends and none of them is confirmed.

So, once again, invisible communal forces are trying to mislead the nation by such rumours. It is our duty to stop them immediately.

We appeal to all sections of society, particularly to the people from Northeastern states of India not to believe any information that may be passed on to you. Please confirm whether it is true or not. You may call the Police Helpline No. 100, or contact your responsible community and student leaders. Rumours will only add more fuel to the present uneasy situation prevailing in our beloved country.

North East Support Centre and Helpline Team have appealed to the Delhi Police to arrange special patrolling in areas where people from the Northeast are predominantly present. These areas are: Murnika, Mukherjee Nagar, Moti Bagh, Khanpur, Safdarjung Enclave, Defence Colony, Gandhi Vihar, Nehru Vihar, Vijay Nagar, Double Storey, Delhi University Campus, JNU Campus and Sikanderpur in Gurgaon.

For further clarification, the North East Support Centre and Helpline Team can be contacted at 9774303076, 9968291645,  9811535563

Source: Darjeeling Times.com

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Bangalore Police, Railway Officials Say, “The Exodus Has Stopped.”


At Guwahati Railway Station on August 20, 2012
At Guwahati Railway Station on August 20, 2012

Since last week, as many as 30,000 people from the northeast have fled from Bangalore. The exodus was triggered by rumours of attacks. The city is now under heavy security. To instill trust in the minds of the panic-stricken Northeasterners, as many as 17,000 police force, supported by Rapid Action Force are standing by. The Karnataka State Reserve Police, has been recalled for active duty.

A few days ago, Indian Railways, ran additional train services to Guwahati to meet the sudden onrush of fleeing Northeasterners. However, for the past two days, they did not operate any special services. Travelers from Bangalore are now being told to board the Yeshwanthpur – Howrah Express from Yeshwanthpur and then proceed to Guwahati from Howrah.

On Sunday night, Mr. R. Ashoka, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of Karnataka went on rounds with top police officials. He visited places largely populated by people from the northeastern states. He said that he would work incessantly to ensure their safety.

On Monday August 20, the police and the railway authorities in Bangalore said that the exodus of North-easterners back to their home-states seemed to have ended. This they believed was due to the scaled-up security along with measures implemented to create confidence.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Suneel Kumar told PTI, “The situation is absolutely peaceful and normal with people observing the Ramzan festival with usual bonhomie. People from the northeast are going about their chores without any disturbance, and the exodus has completely stopped. People from the northeastern states are safe and secure.”

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Exodus of People from Northeastern States Back to Their Native Places


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Thousands of workers and students from Assam and other northeastern states living in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala have already left for their native places. This was due to the threat spread via SMS, that a set of miscreants probably would seek them out after Eid. This has prompted the Assam government to stay on high alert to reduce recurrence of violence after Eid.

On Sunday, August 19, Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam convened a high-level emergency meeting attended by the State Chief Secretary N.K. Das, Director General of Police J.N. Chaudhury, three former DGs of Assam law enforcement and government officials. The Chief Minister informed them that in Jalpaiguri area of West Bengal, miscreants killed four people and injured at least nine others in an Assam-bound special train originating from Bangalore. The train that was among three Bangalore-Guwahati specials, which were coming to Assam, had reached Guwahati that Sunday morning.

The chief Minister then told them that Assam government had dispatched officials to Jalpaiguri area to find out what exactly triggered the death of the four people. He said that occurrence of fresh violence that could erupt as soon as the Eid festivity comes to an end in the state worried him. He asked his officials to set up a contingency plan straight away to meet any emergency that could happen in the next few days.

In the meantime, the Assam government has asked the Indian Railways not to offer any more special trains from any state to Guwahati for the panic-stricken people from the region. The Chief Minister said most people who had come due to panic were now eager to return to their workplaces and educational institutes outside the state.

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Panic in Bangalore. Muslims say, “If you feel unsafe, come to our homes, mosques.”


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

Assam burning
Assam burning

In July 2012, ethnic violence in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam erupted between the Bengali-speaking Muslim immigrants and the indigenous Bodos. Nearly 80 people died during last month alone. 400,000 people have been displaced from almost 400 villages, and are sheltered in 270 relief camps.

The Muslim population in the North-East consists of refugees who migrated before the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 from the erstwhile East Pakistan. Currently, Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh, are infiltrating into the region. This violent outbreak is due in part to the rising ethnic nationalism (most notably Bodo nationalism) and diaspora politics

On 27 July 2012, Assam’s Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blamed the national government for its delay in sending the army to riot-hit areas. The following day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the relief camps in Kokrajhar and said the recent violence is a blot on the face of India.

Desecration of Amar Jawan Jyoti
Desecration of Amar Jawan Jyoti

On 11 August 2012, a protest was organised by the Raza Academy against the attacks on Muslims in Assam and in Myanmar was held at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. The protest was attended by two other groups, Sunni Jamaitul Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa. It ended in violence, leading to two deaths and 54 injured including 45 policemen. The most disturbing images were those of miscreants demolishing the “Amar Jawan Jyoti” a symbol of Indian Valour.

Now, the people from the North-East living in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune are on their guard against aftershocks and repercussions. Thousands of people are fleeing the southern city of Bangalore amid rumours. They said that text messages were circulating, which warned of attacks by Muslims in retaliation for communal violence in their home state.

However, leaders from the Bangalore’s Muslim community assured students from the North-East with regard to their personal safety in Bangalore. Because panic-stricken men and women from the North-East continue to get out of Bangalore, leaders of the local Muslim community talked with student representatives and assured them that there would be almost nothing to be worried. Akbar Ali, convener of the Muslim welfare association said those people who seriously feel quite unsafe in their home are welcome to come to the homes of Muslims and to the mosques to take shelter. Ali also told the students that there was no need to worry. “We will protect you, but please do not leave the city. It is your city as much as ours,” reassured Ali.

Hundreds of students and workers from Assam thronged Bangalore’s main railway station on Thursday to try to board trains leaving the city, while officials tried to assure them of their safety.

The Central government and the Karnataka State government say emphatically that there is no need for the people from the North-East living in Bangalore to return to their homes as there is no imminent threat to them in the City.

The police are monitoring social-networking sites to find those creating this panic. Though the level of panic has come down as compared to Wednesday, people continue to leave the city. People from the North-East say that as per the messages or rumours being circulated, the attacks could come after the 20th of this month; hence, they did not want to be here at that time. However, the Bangalore police say that no incidents have been reported on any attack on citizens from the North-East in the city. Their message says, “Do not panic or heed to rumours. In case you need help, please call the control room.”

The state administration, on the other hand, is doing all it can to assure the panic-stricken people that they were safe within the city. Law Minister, Suresh Kumar, when contacted informed that he met with most of the people at the railway station and assured them of their safety. Most of the people want to go home to their parents as there have been incidents that prompted them to leave the city.The latest developments:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered monitoring of social networking and online community websites to identify those who are misreporting facts and throe spreading rumours through email messages to trigger communal violence.
  • Acknowledging that rumours and threatening text messages are fuelling tension, the Prime Minister said, “We must work together to ensure that all people from other states do not feel threatened by rumour-mongering and SMSes. We have to maintain peace at any cost.” He also urged all political parties to “work together to give a feeling of confidence” to all people affected in the recent violence in Assam.
  • In Bangalore, for the second night in a row, two special trains departed for Guwahati, in addition to the regular train that runs every evening. Officials say the rush is partly because of the long weekend. But some students from states like Assam and Manipur say their parents are worried about their safety and want them back at home.
  • Bangalore Police Commissioner Jyothiprakash Mirji visited the railway station to reiterate, “No incidents have been reported of attack on North-Eastern citizens in Bangalore. Do not panic or pay heed to rumour.”
  • Student representatives of Bangalore’s north-eastern community met on Thursday morning with Muslim leaders who have said they will continue to disseminate messages of peace. “Those feeling unsafe may take shelter in our homes and mosques. But please do not leave the city. It is yours as much as it is mine,” said Akbar Ali, Convenor, Bangalore’s Muslim Welfare Association.
  • Jagadish Shettar, who heads the BJP government in Karnataka, met students from the North-East on Thursday and said, “We are all with you…there is nothing to worry (about).” He also reassured them that nobody has been attacked in the state as a result of the ethnic violence in Assam. A helpline has been set up for the north-eastern community in the city.
  • Indians from the North-East, living in cities like Bangalore, should stay where they are, said Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday afternoon. He phoned the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday and asked that his administration ensure the safety of students and young professionals in Bangalore.
  • After reports of new ethnic violence in Assam, the Army will be deployed in the state to help maintain law and order; the state government has formally sought its assistance today. Nine columns of the Army (about 600 personnel) will be stationed in Nalbari, an important town in Lower Assam which has been hit by ethnic violence.
  • A car was set ablaze on Wednesday night in Baksa, which is in lower Assam, and was one of the districts affected in the recent clashes between Bodo tribal and Bengali-speaking Muslims. Angry locals, in response, torched a bus and a bridge on Thursday morning. Nearly 80 people have died in the last month in the ethnic clashes. Till recently, four lakh people were packed into relief camps.
  • In New Delhi, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, “Panic due to rumours in Karnataka is a very serious issue. The Karnataka government will do everything to protect the people from the North-East. It is a case of concerted effort to create a divide among people.” She also urged the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra to build confidence among people from the North-East who study or work in cities like Hyderabad and Pune.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Manufactured Shame – The telecast of a young girl’s molestation



‘Please come quickly, she has been caught… (to the mob) the camera is here. Hold her. Hold her,’ the voice in the footage is heard saying

The telecast of a young girl’s molestation in the heart of Guwahati by a local news channel has jolted the nation’s consciousness. Ratnadip Choudhury exposes the sordid truth behind the horrific act. 

Public outcry Youngsters protesting the horrific molestation that shook up the city. (Photo: Ujjal Deb)

WHAT WAS initially touted by a news channel as an exposé on the depravity and moral turpitude in society is now emerging as an event which was manipulated by the channel to “create” news. On 9 July, the whole country was outraged by a video clip aired by News Live, a leading news channel of Assam, which showed a young girl being groped, clawed, beaten and molested in full public glare outside a pub on the busy GS Road of Guwahati, the Northeast’s biggest city.

People were shocked, the people of Assam more than anybody else. Public morality had hit an all-time low. How could this happen on a busy street of a state capital? How could bystanders watch as a mob of not less than 30 men humiliated a young girl? Where was the police in all this? There was a storm of outrage as social media sites went into overdrive. Questions were raised and debated, calling for a strong protest against this heinous act.

Amidst all this clamour, another question gnawing at the sides was the role played by the news channel, News Live, which filmed the whole episode. RTI activist and leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Akhil Gogoi claimed to have laid his hands on video clippings that demonstrated that the News Live reporter who filmed the whole incident had instigated the mob. TEHELKA has reviewed these clips and the truth is horrifying.

Akhil alleged that Gaurav Jyoti Neog, the News Live reporter who had called in his camera unit to film the incident, had orchestrated the molestation to “manufacture” a “sensational news piece” to boost the channel’s TRP. “News Live is promoted by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sharma is its chief managing director (CMD),” says Akhil. “The channel has been involved in false and fabricated news from the start, but this one has been the most unethical. News Live reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog has instigated the molestation and I have video footage to prove that.” The raw footage has since been handed over to state DGP Jayanto Narayan Choudhury. Sources say that in its preliminary report to the Union home ministry, the police has hinted at the reporter’s involvement in instigating the molesters. Gaurav has been working for News Live since 2009.

Interestingly, the News Live office is located at Christian Basti, not far from Club Mint Bar where the incident occurred. The channel has admitted that Akhil got the footage from somebody in their office. TEHELKA has found that there were people in the office who were against this kind of unethical journalism, and these were the people who handed over the footage to Akhil to blow the lid off the whole episode. The channel’s Managing Editor Syed Zarir Hussain has admitted that it was a News Live reporter who shot all the raw footage. There are two shots of footages. One shot by an open camera used by channels to cover news, and the other footage, which actually indicts the news reporter was shot by the reporter himself on his own mobile camera. The digital camera visuals were shot by News Live reporter Dibya Bordoloi and his cameraperson Jugal, reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog shot the other clips with his cell phone.

Permanent scar A video grab of the girl being molested by the mob in Guwahati

In a reconstruction of the hitherto unaired footage, we have tried to recount what happened outside the Club Mint Bar on the evening of 9 July.

According to News Live, reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog was on his way home from work when he heard the ruckus outside Club Mint (the bar is about 200 metres from the channel’s office) and started shooting with his cell phone. Sensing something sensational afoot, he asked his office for a camera unit to be sent to the spot.

Though the channel claims that Gaurav had asked the news desk to inform the police, nothing in the raw footage or otherwise that establishes this claim. The Assam Police has maintained that they received no calls from News Live or any other media organisation informing them about the molestation. The first calls it got, the police claims, came from Club Mint and later from the Hotel Gateway Grandeur, situated close to the pub.

The footage starts at the point after two girls have been thrown out of the pub following a scuffle over a lost ATM card as the victim recollects later. The girls are waiting on the road for an autorickshaw, when ambient noises are heard in the background. The conversation is not very clear. Later, one can see that a group of boys, who were standing outside the bar at a wine shop, had been recording the girls’ movements with their cell phones and had passed some comment. One girl in a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts slaps one of the boys. The footage then shows the girl engaged in a physical struggle with the boys. The other — the victim — is wearing a black top and shorts. A male voice is heard: “Send a camera immediately near the income tax office.” Akhil claims this is the voice of the News Live reporter Gaurav, a fact admitted by the channel, which has aired the same visual with the same voice claiming it to be Gaurav’s.

FURTHER, THE raw footage shows the other girl being chased by a group of boys. Someone shouts: “Catch her, make her naked, make her naked, catch her.” This voice is strikingly similar to the voice the channel admits belongs to Gaurav. (The authenticity could only be proved by a forensic examination, but ex facie it does appear to be Gaurav’s) This can be deduced from the circumstances around the clippings. In a situation where there is a lot of noise in the background, it is likely that the most audible voice will be of the person holding the phone. Also, most of the people voice matches the earlier male voice that News Live had itself identified as belonging to Gaurav.

What follows there after are horrific scenes of the girl being pulled from all sides, thrashed and fondled. Someone pulls her top to expose her bra, another man gropes her private parts when she is pinned down. She cries and shouts for help, and tries her best to free herself. A voice is heard saying: “Make her naked, let people see her… she is a prostitute and she dares to do this.” The molestation gets even more violent, more brutal. The frame, albeit shaky, is clear enough to see the girl struggling all the while screaming “help, help!” This blood-curdling scene plays out again and again. Bystanders can be seen watching, some from a distance, some to get a ringside view. No one comes forward to help the traumatised girl.

Hunter-to-hunted Rup Kanta Kalita (27), Deba Das (22), Nabajyoti Barua (22), Jitu Moni Deka (30) and Dipak Deb (50), five of the alleged accused being produced before the CJM Court on 17 July

As the recording continues, the same male voice is heard again, this time distinctly: “Please come quickly, she has been caught… (to the mob) the camera is here, hold her, hold her.” Circumstances suggest that this could again be Gaurav’s voice, because he has called his colleague at the News Live office, Dibya Bordoloi to come to the spot with a camera team.

Night duty reporter Dibya Bordoloi arrives with the cameraperson. The camera rolls, this time with the lights on. The face of the main accused Amarjyoti Kalita becomes distinct here. Kalita in a red T-shirt and a cap, takes charge of what has by now become a circus. The footage shows how the girl breaks away twice from the molesters, only to be brought back each time. Pulled by her hair, her jacket ripped apart, her undergarments visible, the mob was enacting a “live act” in its most horrific form. Amarjyoti was pulling the girl by her undergarments, another assaulter was pulling her by her hair. This part of the raw footage caught on News Live cameras holds the key for the police investigation. This is the part that Akhil has not released to the media and News Live has not aired.

Many questions arise out of this. Did any of the molesters personally know the reporter? Police sources confirmed that almost all the molesters whose faces have been identified did not have prior criminal records. A well-placed source in the Assam Police has confirmed that Gaurav knew prime accused Amarjyoti pretty well; a few others in the mob knew each other since they worked in the same area.

So the question automatically veers towards the intent of “manufacturing” news. Or does it go deeper than that? Only a forensic test of the raw footage will throw up conclusive answers. Managing Editor Hussain defends his reporter. “It is because News Live had aired the visuals that the molesters are behind bars,” he says. “If we had given the footage to the cops directly, it would have been put in cold storage as has happened frequently in the past.”

Even after Mukul Kalita and some other people restore order and call the cops, Amarjyoti Kalita is still seen trying to grab the girl from behind

In the open camera footage, the perpetrators were clearly enjoying being filmed. Some were even smiling at the camera. Gaurav is also seen wearing a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans. “Initially, Gaurav tried to protest, but things went out of control so our reporters kept rolling,” defends Hussain. TEHELKA found no video frames or audio streams in the raw footage, to remotely suggest that Gaurav tried to dissuade the mob at any time. Though the footage does show that the other reporter Dibya shouts at the molesters and even tries to rescue the girl. Despite numerous attempts to contact Gaurav, the reporter was not available for any comment.

The footage then shows the girl running towards traffic on the busy GS Road asking car drivers for help. The mob follows her shouting that she is a prostitute. Incredibly, this seems reason enough for people not to intervene in what they could have seen as an act of moral policing. A man on a motorcycle tries to stop the crowd, but in vain. It is only when vernacular daily Ajir Axom’s senior journalist Mukul Kalita, who happened to be passing by, interferes, that some other people also come to the rescue of the girl. Dibya also tries to bring some order. No such effort is made by Gaurav.

After some order has been restored, Gaurav is heard shouting at Dibya for not carrying the channel mic ID (channel logo attached to the mike) and snatches the gun mic before asking the victim: “Please tell me what happened.” What the girl says is perhaps the most telling statement in the footage. “I was returning home after attending a birthday party, you have done it… you people have done it,” she says. This is a shocking revelation. Akhil claims that the victim was talking about Gaurav and the molesters. News Live claims nothing is conclusive; traumatised as she was, the girl might have meant all the people or some people around her, or may be venting at the constant rolling of the camera.

Atanu Bhuyan Tarun Gogoi
Former News Live Editor-in-chief Atanu Bhuyan; Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi addressing the media

TEHELKA has in its possession a copy of the victim’s statement at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court. Written in Assamese, one section of the statement reads thus: “…they started to tear off my clothes; a media team was shooting the scene instead of helping me. The mob tore my clothes and started groping my private parts. I somehow saved my face from being exposed by the camera. I was shellshocked. A gentleman saved me, the police arrived and dropped me home.”

The footage reveals people led by Mukul Kalita trying to convince cops to reach the spot fast and also trying to ensure the girl’s safety. Even then, Amarjyoti Kalita is seen smiling and grabbing the victim from behind.

Above the din, Dibya is heard telling Gaurav: “This girl’s career, future is ruined.” After a brief pause, a voice, probably Gaurav’s, is heard: “Ruined meaning?” Leaning towards Gaurav, Dibya’s face is visible for a second. “I have done all this!” someone says. Though TEHELKA cannot independently verify this, a comparison with other audio streams in the clip gives the impression that the voice making this boast belongs to Gaurav. The footage ends with the girl being taken away by the police. The molestation even then and the mob groped the girl even while she was seated in the police van.

THE COPS have already taken voice samples of Gaurav and confiscated the News Live camera, tapes and computers where the video footage was processed. The memory card of the cell phones that he was using has also been sent for forensic tests. After Akhil handed over the raw footage to the cops, Gaurav resigned from News Live. In his defence he said he had quit to ensure “a free and fair investigation”. On 18 July, he applied for an anticipatory bail at the Gauhati High Court, though he still has not been named an accused or detained by the police.

Launched in January 2008, News Live gained reputation for its smart presentation, vast coverage and a knack for breaking news before anyone else. The past few months had seen the channel dedicating huge chunks of airtime to what many describe as “on-air moral policing”. From stories of young girls getting drunk and unruly scenes inside bars and on the streets to hosting regular panel discussions on what women should wear, the channel was almost on a moral crusade.

In 2011, News Live Editor-in-chief Atanu Bhuyan made it to the headlines of national dailies after he made unsavoury comments about Aahom girls from upper Assam. The Tai-Aahom Students’ Union had even locked down News Live bureau offices in upper Assam towns.

Interestingly, Akhil’s claims of “manufactured” news got approval from an unexpected quarter. In a press conference, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi came down heavily on the news channel. “I cannot approve the fact that the TV crew went on rolling their tapes for almost 45 minutes without making efforts to save the girl,” said a stern-looking Gogoi. The chief minister has asked the CID to investigate the role of the channel in the molestation. A team of police officers led by DGP Choudhury has been entrusted with the task of nabbing the culprits. The chief minister has said that a crackdown will happen without infringing on the freedom of the press.

Of the 14 molesters who have been identified, the cops have already arrested 12. At the time of going to press, two, including prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita — a casual employee of the state government’s information technology agency AMTRON — were still absconding.

Angry wave Social activist Akhil Gogoi leading a demonstration in front of the News Live office on 15 JulyPhoto: Ujjal Deb

Editor Atanu Bhuyan quit his office, not owning moral responsibility, but citing apprehensions that the chief minister would “pressurise” the management to sack him. For his part, the CM got the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Mamta Sharma to visit Guwahati and meet the victim, after an earlier NCW fact-finding team led by Alka Lamba left Guwahati without meeting him. Lamba was later removed for naming the victim during a press conference. Shockingly, even the CM’S office repeated the same callousness. After Tarun Gogoi had met the victim, the CM’s office released pictures of the girl with Gogoi. Not only this, they even revealed her identity. Though Gogoi later apologised for the slip-up, asking the media not to publish the pictures, he continued naming her.

THE INCIDENT has scarred Assam. The state that prides itself on its treatment of women has now been reduced to a group of bystanders. “The rest of the country protested violently, people started calling Guwahati a city of bystanders,” says Guwahati-based author Ayushman Dutta. “People watched with voyeuristic pleasure the horrific scenes of a girl being ravaged on the streets. Some even took photos and made the odd MMS, but no one stopped their car to help her, they did not even bother to lower their car windows.” The incident has also sparked a debate on the mad race of news channels for TRPs.

Interestingly, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), both of which have never missed a chance to issue diktats on New Year’s or Valentine’s Day, have maintained a stony silence on this.

But, it is with the police that the buck finally stops. The government has put the wheels in motion. The SSP, Guwahati city, Apurba Jibon Baruah has been transferred. “We are looking at all aspects of the evidence. If the reporter and the channel are found guilty, we will act,” says DGP Choudhury.

The brutality was not confined to the street. NCW member Alka Lamba, and even the CM’s office, named the victim without a care for her reputation

Tarun Gogoi has declared that he will create the position of a City Police Commissioner. But many of the recommendations of the expert committee constituted after the 2008 serial blasts in Guwahati has been kept in cold storage. “Almost all our recommendations have not been implemented,” says HK Deka, former DGP and member of the expert committee on police reforms. “With the city moving fast to becoming a metro, police modernisation is a must, transferring the SSP is not a solution.” In size and population, Guwahati is similar to Bhubaneswar. However, where the Odisha capital has 3,500 dedicated police personnel, the Guwahati City Police has 210 sub-inspectors and 1,300 constables manning the streets. Nowhere is this void felt more than in the pubs and clubs of the city.

But for all this, if it turns out that the media has behaved in a callous manner, its very relevance will be questioned. If proven true, this would perhaps be the first incident in which a media house has had a frighteningly complicit role in a despicable crime against a woman. While it is almost sure that this is our News Of The World moment, media houses, especially electronic media, need to rethink their priorities: higher TRPs or news ethic. Until that happens, the spectacle will continue.

Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.
ratnadip@tehelka.com

Reproduced from Tehelka

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