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Jul 18, 2012 at 11:37am IST

Guwahati molestation: Activists demand NCW restructure

Guwahati: The Congress has admitted to CNN-IBN that Alka Lamba committed a grave mistake by revealing the Guwahati molestation victim's name. Activists and politicians alike are now demanding that the National Commission for Women (NCW) be reconstituted and laws be changed for dealing with molestation victims.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, "It's not pardonable, I can understand that. She made a huge, blatant mistake, which she shouldn't have done. It is general procedure that we never reveal the identity of the victim."

The Bharatiya Janata Party on the other hand slammed the NCW and demanded its reconstitution. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said, "You can rework the commission if you want to, if you feel the need to, but I feel that given the existing provisions to see how fair are we to the women who are calling for our attention, you just need to apply your mind.

Human Rights Lawyer Vrinda Grover pointed out that the NCW should have fewer political elements. She said, "The problem with the NCW is that all of these are political appointments, not women who have an understanding of the women's rights issues. Those on the Commission come from illustrious political Congress backgrounds. Is that a credential that takes you to the NCW?"

After the NCW sacked its member Alka Lamba for revealing the victim's identity, the Assam government repeated a similar blunder.

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.

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.

As the blame game over the heinous crime involving political parties, media and social activists continues to grow, several 'Beasts of Guwahati' still roam free.

Eleven accused have been arrested so far. 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.