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Durba Paul, Sagnick Gupta, Priya Mazumdar still untraced; “Raids are on” says SP Rakesh Roushan

The delay by the police authority in apprehending those involved in an assault on two tribal woman-vendors at Jail Road in Silchar on November 24 has evoked strong reactions from different organisations and civil society groups.

Two woman vendors – Gracy Hmar and Lalmounpui Hmar, both residents of Hmarkhawlien village in Cachar district, were assaulted at a roadside market at Jail Road for allegedly stealing a stray dog to sell its meat.

An FIR was lodged with police on December 5 after a video went viral on social media. A case under Sections 147/294/325/354/506/153(A) of the IPC was registered. The video, which has been all over the social media for the past few days, features Durba Paul, Priya Mazumder and Sagnick Gupta. It shows Durba abusing, threatening, dragging and beating up one of the woman vendors, while Priya and Sagnick were present at the spot.

Speaking to Barak Bulletin on Sunday, Konsam Korowhanba, president of the Silchar district committee, All Assam Manipuri Students’ Association, said the assault on the tribal woman vendors could not be tolerated under any circumstances. “This is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

“We will go for large-scale protests if the suspects are not arrested soon,” he said, and urged the other organisations/groups of the town to come together and raise a strong and united voice over the matter.

Tania Laskar, general secretary of the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, said the assault on the tribal woman vendors was a gross violation of human rights and the assailant(s) should get strict punishment. The authorities should consider the case seriously and take action against all those involved, she added.

Arpita Barman, an advocate, said it was the responsibility of the authorities to handle the matter even if something like dog slaughtering was going on in that place. “Who is she (Durba Paul)? Who gave her the authority,” she questioned.

“They should have informed the authorities concerned if they found anything as such. Who are they to make the judgment,” she said..

Fanjowbam Lokenath, secretary general of the Manipuri Youth Front, Assam, said they would soon move the authorities demanding arrest of all those involved in the incident. “This can result in more such incidents if the authorities fail to bring the culprits to book,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Arun Paul Choudhury, who was supervising the case at Silchar Medical College and Hospital (where Gracy was admitted few days back), confirmed her miscarriage on Saturday.
“Gracy, who was released on Friday, was pregnant and had suffered a miscarriage. The miscarriage, however, might not necessarily be related to the assault,” he said.

Cachar superintendent of police Rakesh Roushan told Barak Bulletin on Sunday evening that police were searching the suspects and hoped they would be held soon.

“All of them are absconding. We have raided a few places. They would be under police custody soon,” he said.

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