News Live did not do anything wrong by filming the molestation and airing it. It is because of News Live that the police could arrest the culprits. — Atanu Bhuyan
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 17: Editor-in-chief of News Live, Atanu Bhuyan on Tuesday resigned from his post, but not before expressing apprehensions that the probe into the allegations that News Live journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog had instigated the molestation incident might not be impartial.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Atanu Bhuyan said, “I am resigning from my post but I still support my journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog.”
News Live journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog had filmed the incident and the channel had aired visuals of a girl being molested outside a bar in Guwahati on the night of July 9. Neog has already resigned after he was accused of instigating the mob to molest the girl.
Bhuyan said that when MLA Rumi Nath was assaulted recently, the video footage which was aired on television showed the MLA falling on the ground and being kicked but does not show who kicked her. When Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi was attacked in Nalbari district recently, there was no video footage of the attack and hence the attackers had not been caught as yet, he said.
“Why did the Chief Minister not hand over these two cases to the CID?” he asked.
“News Live did not do anything wrong by filming the molestation and airing it. It is because of News Live that the police could arrest the culprits,” Bhuyan said. Defending his move of uploading the video footage on Youtube, Bhuyan said, “I uploaded the video on Youtube the next day, after we had already aired the footage in our channel on the night of the incident. Hardly 25,000 people must have seen the video on Youtube but around 26 lakh people saw the same video on News Live.”
Elaborating why he resigned, Bhuyan said that he had heard from his “sources” that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi wished that he (Bhuyan) should resign. “Since Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma is the CMD of News Live, the Chief Minister may, through Himanta Biswa Sarma, put pressure on the management of the channel to ask me to resign. So before such a situation arises, I am resigning from my post,” said Bhuyan.
He also expressed anguish at the Chief Minister’s statement on Monday that the role of the News Live journalist in the molestation incident was “unethical”. “The allegations made against Gaurav are still being interrogated. Since the probe in on, the Chief Minister should not have made such a statement as it may influence the police and the probe may not be impartial,” said Bhuyan.
He also refuted allegations that prime accused Amar Jyoti Kalita and Gaurav were friends. “Gaurav has told me that Amar Jyoti Kalita is not his friend, not even an acquaintance. Gaurav has told me that he did not instigate the mob to molest the girl. I believe him and will support. But if the probe proves that he is guilty then he should be punished,” said Bhuyan.
“I have lost my mental peace because of this incident. I want the probe against Gaurav to be fair and neutral and hence I am resigning,” he added.