ITANAGAR, Nov 18: The media fraternity of Arunachal Pradesh has expressed shock on the assault of a journalist in Assam who was tied to an electric pole and beaten up in broad daylight on the eve of National Press Day.
Reports said that Assamese daily Pratidin’s correspondent in Mirza in Kamrup district, Milan Mahanta, was assaulted on Sunday.
Videos and photographs of the attack have been circulating in the media and so far, reports indicate that police have made one arrest.
Reports said that Mahanta’s attackers may have been part of a gambling ring on which he had been reporting recently.
Appalled by the development, the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) said that “not only is this a blatant attempt at curbing the right of a journalist to report on issues, the manner of the violence is despicable in all manner of speaking. We question how the law of the land can deteriorate to such an extent that goons feel embolden to act with such impunity.”
The union hoped that the culprits are brought to book swiftly.
Additionally, the APUWJ also raised concerned over the Meghalaya High Court’s decision to not quash a criminal case against veteran journalist and editor of The Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim, for a Facebook post.
“Mukhim’s statement made on the social media platform are not devoid of facts, and instead of taking her to task, the courts and other government authorities should focus on arresting those actually guilty of breaking laws and sowing communal discord in the state of Meghalaya,” the union said.
Distraught by the continued lack of response from the Editors Guild of India to such attacks and systematic acts of suppression by government bodies in the North East, the APUWJ said, “the repeated arrests of Manipur journalist, Kishorechandra Wangkhem, is another instance where the guild’s silence has been deafening.”
Saying that “the region and its people already feel a sense of distance from the rest of the country and such silence only adds to the feeling of alienation,” the union prayed and hoped that “the guild looks inward and acts in a manner that reflects the ‘India’ part of its name.”