HC declines to quash FIR against Shillong Times editor

SHILLONG, Nov 13: The Meghalaya High Court has refused to quash a police complaint against veteran journalist Patricia Mukhim for her Facebook post which allegedly incited communal tension between the tribal and the non-tribal communities in the state.

Disposing of a petition filed by Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times newspaper, Justice W Diengdoh said that the investigation agency should be given a free hand to probe into the matter.

“In the event, the investigating agency is required to be given a free hand to investigate the matter and to come to its own conclusion in due process of law.

“Consequently, I find no merit in the instant petition for exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC. This petition is accordingly hereby rejected,” the judge said in the 10 November order.

Mukhim had hit out at the Lawsohtun village dorbar (council) on Facebook for failing to identify the “murderous elements” after five boys were attacked at a basketball court in July this year.

Eleven people were picked up and two were arrested in the case.

“There is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis-à-vis their rights and security and the alleged tipping of the balance in favour of one community over the other.

“This in the opinion of this court would fall on the mischief of Section 153 A (a) IPC as it apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities,” the court said.

Despite repeated attempts, Mukhim could not be reached for comment.

The police complaint was filed against Mukhim by the village council on 6 July for her post on social media, alleging that her statement incited communal tension and might instigate communal conflict.

She was subsequently booked under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc), and other provisions of the IPC. (PTI)