Guwahati, Jul 17 : As if derogatory terms like 'chinki' or 'junglee' weren't enough, people of the Assamese community, both students and working professions, are facing flak for the GS Road molestation incident in places like Bangalore and Delhi in the form of verbal taunts and jibes.
The city has now become synonymous with the July 9 incident. Just type 'g' and 'u' on search engine Google and the first links that come up are on the Guwahati molestation.
"I have been living in Delhi for the past 24 years, and I had created an impression in front of my non-Assamese friends that we, as a people, are free and open-minded; we have no dowry system and women get a special respect in our community. But after this incident, the non-Assamese people who know me have begun asking me whether this is the way the Assamese men treat their women. With this incident, the image of our people has taken a severe setback," said Ashim Dutta, a Delhi-based web designer and entrepreneur.
And it is not just the molestation incident that is behind this loss of face for the Assamese. The recent public thrashing of MLA Rumi Nath, which was caught live on camera, had sent shock waves across the nation. And the incident which was still fresh in the minds of people when the young girl was publicly molested by a mob on GS Road last Monday. The entire episode, which was recorded on camera, resulted in a massive national outrage.
The footage of the assault, which was being repeatedly aired by major national broadcasting networks, has not only enraged the general populace but put the spotlight on Assamese community. The incident has smudged and tainted the image of the docile Assamese, and this at a time when the state was just emerging from decades of insurgency, which had earned it the sobriquet of being 'strife-torn'.
Chandan Medhi, an Assamese software professional based in Bangalore, said, "The G S Road episode has given a chance to those who love to term Assam as some sort of savage land. Since the incident I've been barged with questions like 'Is this a regular affair?', 'Is this the way you all treat women for having a peg or two?', and the worst one - 'Are we misogynists?"