Five held in Assam for ‘forcing’ girls to dance nude

The incident allegedly happened during a programme organised on June 7 night to celebrate Eid

The Assam police have arrested five persons for allegedly forcing a group of girls to dance nude at a programme organised to celebrate Eid.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident. Its chairperson Rekha Sharma has asked Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia to conduct a proper inquiry and take action against the culprits.

The incident happened on the night of June 7 at a mixed-population village in Kamrup district’s Chhaygaon, about 45km west of Guwahati. The victims were members of two dance troupes hired from Boko 15 km west of Chhaygaon.

The police in Chhaygaon said the local organisers had hired the dance troupes for Rs 37,000 for the programme at an isolated village. Soon after the programme started, the organisers allegedly forced the dancers – eight of them tribal girls – to perform in the nude as demanded by the crowd.

The audience of about 700 people also allegedly tried to molest the dancers.

“When the programme started, the unruly crowd, as well as the organisers, started teasing the dancers by pulling their clothes. They threatened to kill us with daggers if the girls did not dance naked. We somehow managed to leave the spot but the miscreants damaged our vehicle. We had called up some friends and the police eventually rescued us,” said Arup D. Rabha, director of one of the dance troupes.

Mr. Rabha said the organisers had sold tickets by telling people that they would bring special nude dancers from West Bengal for the programme.

On Sunday and Monday, hundreds of people took to the streets in Boko to protest against the incident. State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the culprits should be dealt with firmly.

Condemnation also poured in from the fraternity of performing artistes.

“We have arrested five people so far for sexual harassment of the dancers,” a district police officer said.

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