Guwahati: In what may be called an effort to damage control, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that the Jorhat girl has done nothing wrong by posting her case of eve-teasing on Facebook.
Sarma’s remark came after a college girl's Facebook in Jorhat, narrating how she was sexually harassed last week by motorcycle-borne youths, sparked protests across the state.
Clarifying that his government was not opposed to the idea of posting anything against the government on social media, Sarma said, “We have simply requested the people to inform such incidents to police also. Police failed to take note of the Facebook posts of the girl and by the time it came to their notice, the accused had sufficient time to escape.”
Earlier, Parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had ridiculed the girl, who was an activist of the Left-wing Students’ Federation of India (SFI), for making her ordeal public on social media, instead of seeking police help and.
A day after Patowary’s remark, Tezpur’s BJP MP R P Sharma also had advocated that such incidents should be reported to police instead of taking it up on social media.
The remarks of Patowary and Sharma had sparked angry reactions with many asking for the resignation of the minister.
In an obvious attempt to pacify the storm, Sarma on Thursday stepped in and clarified that they can’t snatch away the rights of any individual to put forward their grievances on social media.
The Facebook post of the girl has sparked protests across the state with many intellectuals extending their support to the girl for raising her voice against it.
Sahitya Akademi winner Nirupama Borgohain lauded the girl's courage for bringing the issue on public domain in the interest of others, risking her own security.
An IPS officer Sanjukta Parashar, a former superintendent of police in Jorhat, also wrote a Facebook post supporting the girl going public with her ordeal.
“She has expressed herself quite clearly; the pain and the anguish of being sexually assaulted, the trauma of feeling lonely, and the frustration at the inability to get help. Her words are a cry for justice, a cry for putting an end to such heinous acts by men. It becomes very easy for a woman to blame herself as the society tries to instil such thoughts in us from childhood,” she wrote.
Referring to a tasteless comment made by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Shiva Prasad, Parashar said, “We won’t be parked cars, we as capable and competent women, will go to schools and colleges, to markets and to our jobs. We are not to blame, our clothes are not at fault, we won’t apologise for being women.”