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A female folk singer in Agartala was molested by a gang of over 10 miscreants, including her neighbour, on the last day of Durga Puja on October 26, videos of which went viral on social media, eliciting a widespread outcry over the deteriorating law and order situation in Tripura.

So far, four accused in connection with the incident have been arrested while a massive manhunt has been launched to arrest the others, superintendent of police (west) Manik Das said.

Besides, opposition political parties, civil society organisations, cultural bodies and social organisations slammed chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb and his BJP-IPFT government for failing to secure the safety of women and the people working in democratic institutions, including journalists.

“The criminals are getting shelter from the ruling party and police have become helpless because of political pressure. Until the chief minister intervenes, no action is taken against anybody. BJP’s former spokesperson Prasenjit Chakraborty was beaten up for criticizing Biplab Deb, journalist Parasar Biswas was assaulted for condemning chief minister’s open threat to media on September 11 and hundreds of innocent people were harassed for criticizing the failure and vendetta politics of Biplab Deb in the past two years,” alleged Congress leader Subal Bhowmik.

CPI-M leader Pabitra Kar accused Deb of instigating criminals by his speeches and administrative inaction.

“In most of the cases from Prasenjit Chakraborty to Parasar Biswas, the criminals openly identified themselves as gangsters under the protection of chief minister Biplab Deb during the attacks and threatened their victims against cricizing Deb. Nobody has been arrested in these incidents till now despite specific FIRs,” he said.

Several socio-cultural organisations have protested the incidents and demanded exemplary punishment for the criminals.

They also asked the government to allow police to function as per law without any prejudice.

Police case based on victim’s statement

Meanwhile, police said after looking at the molestation video, a specific case was registered and victim’s statement was recorded on October 28.

Based on the complaints and evidence in the viral video, one Sandip Barman, a neighbour of the victim was arrested and later three others – identified as Asim Majumdar, Utpal Dey and Arijit Biswas – residents of Aswani Market area of Agartala were arrested.

The victim told the police that she was traveling back home with one of her brothers late on Dashami night.

She hired an auto rickshaw for her brother and rode pillion on Sandip’s motor bike.

Allegedly, on the midway, Sandip turned his bike in a different direction and rode her to an isolated place where he started molesting her.

Soon after, another gang of 10-12 youths of the locality joined Sandip and recorded the video.

The video showed the youths physically abused the girl and demanded Rs 10,000 from her and Sandip.

She was rescued by people who rushed to the spot, hearing her cries.

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