Nearly every Indian woman may have experienced sexual harassment on the street, but a recent incident in Guwahati has galvanised a rare collective anger. A young girl, who was celebrating a friend's birthday at a local bar, protested lewd remarks made by a man. As she stepped out of the premises, he and a group of men encircled and sexually assaulted her, in full public view. More men passing by joined the attack. For an awful half hour, nobody intervened — save a TV news reporter, who recorded the event. The video was broadcast on Guwahati's News Live, and went viral. Amid the outpouring of disgust and anger, many brought up that unresolved quandary — should the cameraperson have recorded the crime, or tried to save her?
The documentary evidence is bound to be crucial for the police to identify the assaulters, but should it be aired across the nation? Would the victim want it relived over and over again? The channel's editor has defended his reporter's judgment call — and rightly pointed out that the arrests were made only because of the incriminating visuals. It is a fact that televised images can stir public conscience in an effective way, and will now make sure that the police and administration in Guwahati do not slack off in bringing these assaulters to account — their faces have been put on posters, as the police enlists citizens' support in finding them.
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