A team of the National Commission for Women arrived in Guwahati on Saturday to investigate the shocking molestation of a girl, who was groped and beaten up on the streets of the city by a mob of over 20 men earlier this week.
NCW members demanded exemplary punishment for all the culprits within six months by a fast track court.
Expressing their dissatisfaction at the 'late' arrival of policemen at the crime scene, they also hit out at the bystanders who remained mute spectators and did nothing to help the girl.
The three-member team, comprising NCW member Wangchuk Syiem, social activist Alka Lamba and Hiron Moni Phukon of the Assam State Women Commission, visited the crime scene, interviewed locals and also held discussions with top police and district administration officials.
They will meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday evening.
Talking to reporters, Lamba said, "We have talked to the victim. She needs help to get over the mental and physical trauma. There are burn injuries on her body as some of those barbaric tormentors used burning cigarettes on her. The state police have assured her that she will be provided proper protection."
She said the victim would speak before the media at a later stage as she wanted the accused to be punished, but she needed time before coming out in public.
The social activist expressed her dissatisfaction at the late arrival of police at the crime scene and the absence of women police personnel.
"The place is barely five minutes away from a police station. But neither was a patrol car in the area nor did the police receive a prompt alert. Women police were also not present," she said.
She also pointed out the delay in releasing the report of the victim's medical examination. The incident had occurred on Monday night and medical tests had been conducted the same night.
"We do not think the reports will be tampered with. The injury marks are clear on her body. But we are dissatisfied that the reports have taken so long," she added.
On possible action against the pub for allowing an underage girl to enter, Lamba said those aspects will be dealt with by the police.
"The DGP assured us that the pub's license will be cancelled as the victim has claimed that she is 20 years old and it is illegal to serve drinks to people under 21 years of age," she said.
"We have asked the DGP to ensure better surveillance in the late hours and increase police patrolling. He has assured us that night patrolling will be intensified in the city," she said.
On the allegations of a local television journalist's involvement in instigating the mob, the NCW member said, "No one has brought the matter to our attention. The girl has also not mentioned it."
She thanked the media for broadcasting the faces of the accused and demanded action against the 'mute spectators' shown in the video footage, who allowed the girl to be molested for over half an hour before the police reached the spot.
The NCW team is likely to submit its report in New Delhi by Monday and its next course of action will be determined after that.
The team will recommend a special fast-track court for the case that will be able to complete the trial within six months and hand down exemplary punishment to the accused.
The NCW probe team stated that better protection for women and special laws to deal with their tormentors were the need of the hour, not only for Assam but all over the country.