Amid child marriage crackdown in Assam, the state president of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party Ripun Bora demanded resignation of the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after the Gauhati High Court questioned the state police for allegedly applying the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences or POCSO Act in child marriage cases.
Bora alleged the home department have been misusing POCSO act to arrest people who are allegedly linked with child marriages. He also claimed that the state police have imposed the POCSO act against people linked with child marriages under the direction of the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Addressing a press conference here in Guwahati on Wednesday, Bora said, “Even the Gauhati High Court has reprimanded the government for the move. CM Sarma should accept moral responsibility and resign. He is responsible for the death of the four women of which two committed suicide.”
Bora also questioned who will take the responsibility of the family members of the deceased women.
“These incidents have raised questions on the credibility of the state police in the nation, thus, the chief minister should apologize,” added Bora.
The NDTV reported that as many as nine people have been granted pre-arrest bail by the Gauhati High Court who was allegedly charged under the POCSO Act, with a minimum sentence of 20 years in one of the cases.
As per the report, the High Court on Tuesday observed that these are not instances which require custodial interrogation.
"POCSO you can add anything. What is the POCSO [charge] here? Merely because POCSO is added, does it mean judges will not see what is there? We are not acquitting anyone here. No one is preventing you to probe," Justice Suman Shyam said.
"Is there any allegation of rape here?" he said, hearing another case, and calling the allegations "weird".
"At the moment, this court is of the opinion that these are matters that do not require custodial interrogation... If you find someone is guilty, file a charge sheet," the court said in another related case.
"This is causing havoc in the private life of people. There are children, family members, old people. Obviously it (child marriage) is bad idea. We will give our views but at the moment the issue is whether they should be all arrested and put in jail," it added.
It may be mentioned that the crackdown on child marriage began on February 3 with more than 4,000 arrests so far.