Guwahati: Atanu Bhuyan, the Editor-in-Chief of News Live, the channel that filmed the Guwahati molestation incident, resigned on Tuesday afternoon. He stuck to his defence of filming the incident and thanked the cameraperson for doing so.
Hitting back at the Tarun Gogoi government in Assam for blaming the channel, Bhuyan said, "I am resigning as I think there will not be proper investigations into the matter."
He said that News Live didn't do anything wrong by filming the molestation and airing it. "It is because of News Live that the police could arrest the accused," Bhuyan said.
A News Live journalist had filmed the incident and the channel had aired visuals of the teenager being molested in Guwahati. The journalist who filmed the incident has already resigned after he was accused of instigating the mob to molest a girl outside a bar in Guwahati on the night of July 9.
Bhuyan had earlier defended the journalist and the channel's decision to shoot and air the incident. He had said that had they not shot the incident, the molesters would have been roaming scot-free.
"Mainstream news channels are flooding me with phone calls asking for the footage of the molestation incident. Some of them questioned me as to why my reporter and camera person shot the incident and didn't prevent the mob from molesting the girl. Many people r criticising us for shooting the molestation incident," Bhuyan had tweeted.
"But let me tell them, arrests have been made only because of the visuals. My justification is all very simple. In case of a bomb blast, my reporters would have shot the visuals rather than donate blood. My reporters informed the police, who saved the girl before it was too 'late'. But I'm backing my team since the mob would have attacked them, prevented them from shooting, that would have only destroyed all evidence," he had said.
"Look what happened in Akhil Gogoi's case. Since the attack on him at Nalbari wasn't filmed, only a single attacker is behind bars. Had we not shot the incident, the molesters would have been roaming scot-free," he had said.
Releasing the victim's picture was a mistake: Assam CM
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi admitted the government's mistake of releasing the pictures the the victim, saying it was a mistake. However, he said that the name revealed by The Department of Information and Public Relations was not the real name of the victim.
After the NCW sacked its member Alka Lamba for revealing the victim's identity, the Assam government repeated a similar blunder.
The Department of Information and Public Relations released the name of the victim and photographs of her meeting Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday - a clear violation of the law that says a victim's identity must always be protected and withheld.
The state government later requested the media to not carry the photograph or the name of the victim.
This happened even as NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma apologised to the girl and her family for the lapse in discretion on part of its probe team member Alka Lamba, who has been sacked.
11 arrested, main accused still absconding:
Five more people have been arrested in connection with the molestation, taking the total number of arrests so far to 11. However, the main suspect, Amar Jyoti Kalita, spotted in a red jersey in the video of the incident, is still absconding.
Police sources had said that Amar Jyoti Kalita might have fld to Odisha, and a search was on in Odisha. The latest arrest came hours after Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's 48-hour deadline to nab the culprits ended.