Youth Cong chief Srinivas appears before Guwahati Police over sexual harassment case
Srinivas B V at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport

Guwahati: Youth Congress president Srinivas B V on Monday appeared before the police in Guwahati for questioning into a sexual and mental harassment case filed by now-expelled leader Angkita Dutta.

He reached the Panbazar Women police station at 11 am after landing at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport earlier in the day.

Srinivas was accompanied by his lawyer and Assam Congress leaders, including MLAs Rakibul Hussain and Rekibuddin Ahmed.

After spending nearly one-and-a-half hours at the police station, he left for the office of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the city.

While coming out of the office an hour later, he told waiting reporters, “The matter is before the court.” The CID had also issued a separate notice to Srinivas in the same case.

Dutta had filed a complaint at the Dispur police station on April 20 alleging that Srinivas was ‘persistently harassing and torturing her for the last six months by making sexist comments, using swear words and also threatening her of dire consequences if she keeps complaining against him to the senior party office bearers’.

She had also mentioned in the complaint that during the party’s recent plenary session at Raipur, the accused had physically heckled her and threatened of ruining her career if she complained against him.

Dutta had made the allegations against the IYC president in a series of tweets on April 18.

After the FIR was registered on April 20, a five-member team of Guwahati Police went to Bengaluru on April 23 and pasted a notice at Srinivas’ residence directing him to appear at Dispur police station by May 2.

The Congress issued a show cause notice to Dutta and later expelled her from the primary membership of the party for six years for anti-party activities.

Srinivas had also served a legal notice on Dutta, demanding an apology, failing which he threatened to initiate legal proceedings.

He had approached the Gauhati High Court for anticipatory bail and when it was rejected, he had appealed for it before the Supreme Court.

The apex court on May 17 granted him interim protection from arrest in the case. It directed Srinivas to cooperate in the investigation and appear before the police in Guwahati on May 22.

It also directed him to cooperate in the inquiry being carried out by the National Commission for Women.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders claimed that its youth wing workers were prevented by the police in different districts from coming to Guwahati to extend solidarity with their national president.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia said, “We are members of the party which is known for following the ideology of non-violence. We respect the law of the land. Srinivas is appearing before the police here as ordered by the Supreme Court.”

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He claimed that Youth Congress members from different districts of Assam wanted to show their support to Srinivas in Guwahati but they were prevented by the local police, which threatened them with arrest or other actions under different provisions of law.

Hussian, who has been with Srinivas since he reached Guwahati, said, “We are abiding by every laid down rule. If the government is so confident, we fail to understand why is it putting restrictions on the people?”

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