GUWAHATI: The Assam police arrested five persons in connection with an incident where a group of girls was allegedly forced to dance nude at a programme which was organised to celebrate Eid.
The incident took place at a minority-majority remote village in Chhaygaon of Kamrup district on the night of June 7. The victims were members of two dance troupes from neighbouring Boko.
The National Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident. Its chairperson Rekha Sharma said she had spoken with Assam’s Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia and urged him to conduct a proper inquiry and arrest the culprits.
The police said some locals, who organised the programme, had hired the dance troupes with a contract of Rs.37,000. The dancers included seven-eight tribal girls. When they reached the venue at the isolated village and the programme started, the organisers allegedly tried to force the girls to dance nude as demanded by the crowd.
There were around 700 men and several of them had allegedly tried to molest the female dancers.
One of the dance troupes was Rainbow Dance Group. Its director Arup D Rabha said the venue of the programme was shifted at the last moment.
“When the programme started, the unruly crowd, numbering around 700-800 people and backed by the organisers, started teasing the female dancers by pulling their clothes. They insisted the females dance nude or they will kill us with daggers. Later, as were trying to leave the spot, the miscreants damaged our vehicle. Eventually, we were rescued by the police and our friends whom we had called up to inform the incident,” Rabha said.
He said the organisers had sold tickets by telling people that they would bring dancers from West Bengal for the “nude dance” programme.
The incident has triggered an outrage in the state. Hundreds of people, including the victims, took out a protest march in Boko.
Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma condemned the incident and urged people to register their protest. He said the culprits should be dealt with firmly. Popular singer Zubeen Garg urged people to unite in condemning the incident. The BJP, which heads the state’s ruling coalition, also expressed condemnation.