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Panel advocates caution in Nilakshi probe
- Women’s Commission asks sleuths to conduct investigations with a little more ‘care and dignity’
Nilakshi Sharma. A file picture

Guwahati, Aug. 6: “Hold your horses” is the advice that the Assam State Commission for Women has given the state government to ensure that the probe into the death of 25-year-old actor Nilakshi Sharma last month is conducted with a “little more care, caution and dignity”.

Though the commission did not say it in so many words except that it was concerned over the handling of the case by the investigating agency, the disclosure by police that six persons had been made to undergo DNA tests to prove the paternity of the six-week foetus Nilakshi was carrying proved to be the trigger for the advice. The general feeling among members of the commission was that the disclosures were sending the wrong signals and were “insulting” to Nilakshi’s memory and could leave the likely suspects scarred for life if the truth turned out to be different, sources said.

A source in the commission said DNA tests and questioning were welcome but releasing the names of those tested can create varied impressions about the dead actress as well as those who were being tested. “Therefore, instead of going to town with the gory details, the investigating agency needs to be a little more careful. This disclosures paint a very negative image of the actress and those she interacted with,” the source said. The actress’s family has accused singer Krishnamoni Chutia — in whose album Nilakshi was acting — of negligence in providing medical treatment. At the time of her death, Nilakshi was shooting a song sequence for Chutia’s album, Chal Gori Part-II, at Namrup in Dibrugarh district. Chutia said he was ready to face any probe.

Besides Chutia, the police carried out DNA tests on five others, including choreographer Bappa Ahmed, cinematographer Sumon Dowerah, actor Himangshu Das, Guwahati-based executive of a private firm, Mriganka Das, and doctor Jayanta Talukdar. An Assam Engineering College student, who was close to the actress, will also have to undergo a DNA test.

The commission’s chairperson, Mridula Saharia, said though she welcomed the need to unearth the truth, the manner in which the probe was being conducted had left her disturbed as it could end up maligning the actress as well as those under scrutiny if the findings turned out to be different. “My appeal is that such cases should be probed discreetly out of respect for the departed soul. I have taken up the matter with home commissioner Rajib Bora who has assured me that he would look into it,” she said.

Member-secretary of the commission, Madhurima Baruah Sen, too, expressed concern over the handling of the case by the investigating agency and the media saying it could lead to character assassination and degrading the dignity of the dead person, especially a woman.

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