RTI activist and Team Anna member Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday claimed that the recent molestation of a girl in Guwahati, allegedly instigated by the reporter of a local news channel, may have been part of a greater conspiracy to tarnish the image of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and destabilise the state government.
''The channel is owned by a certain minister of the state whose wife is its CEO. The entire incident had been planned, directed, recorded, telecast and uploaded on You Tube by the news channel with a political motivation," Gogoi said in a press conference.
''We feel there may be a possibility that the entire incident was a part of a greater conspiracy to tarnish Gogoi's image and destabilise the government," he said.
He also stated that the chief minister was a ''weak leader who kept his eyes closed like Dhritarashtra and it was high time he woke up''.
The resignation of the channel's Editor-in-Chief Atanu Bhuyan has brought to the fore the control of a political class on the channel and ''we welcome the resignation and hope it will lead to more independence in Assam's media," he said.
Bhuyan claimed that he resigned on the ground that the chief minister's comment on Monday on the role of the journalist and his demand for the resignation of both (Bhuyan and the reporter) could lead to pressure on the management.
Akhil Gogoi also demanded that the journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog, who allegedly instigated the incident, should be arrested immediately along with prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita.
''We have information that both Neog and Kalita, who are the main culprits of the incident, have a good relation. The latter has been made to flee as many facts will be exposed if he is arrested," he claimed.
Gogoi said the channel's claim that the molested girl had not mentioned either the journalist's name or the channel was false.
''The girl has explicitly mentioned in her statement before the magistrate that the journalist was recording the event on his mobile and on seeing the camera, she tried to cover herself,'' Gogoi said.
The social activist also pointed out that when he had asked Director General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury why Neog had not been arrested so far, the latter told him that it was a ''high-profile case and they were proceeding step by step''.
Gogoi welcomed the transfer of Guwahati Senior Superintendent of Police Apurba Jiban Barua and also demanded the removal of Inspector General of Police (Central Western Range) G P Singh.
''We also have doubts about the police officials assigned to investigate the case," he added.
Barua was removed on Monday evening, with officials stating that he has been moved to Dibragarh.
Official sources said that Barua has been transferred to Sonitpur with its Superintendent of Police Anand Prakash Tiwary succeeding him as the Guwahati City Senior Superintendent of Police.
Gogoi also appealed to the media to refrain from naming or highlighting the life of the girl so that the priority of the case does not shift from the primary focus of bringing the culprits to book.
''She may be good or bad but she is entitled to certain human rights and we must respect that," he added.