There has been much hue and cry about a statement made by one Chief Secretary recently in Tezpur. This statement allegedly called for putting Editors and journalists behind bars if they report any news or release about Insurgent groups. This was considered as an attack on the fourth pillar of democracy and the authorities were quick to dismiss this as a false alarm.
Talking to our Chief Editor over phone one self-styled Major of the ULFA[I] remarked that, “The Chief Secretary’s verbal order has reflected anti-democratic character of the Govt.” He also said that this is not surprising that a Government or any Chief Secretary may try to impose such restrictions on media houses and publications within the North Eastern states. The ULFA[I] leader pointed out that news about insurgent groups of the north-eastern region are published across the world and challenged the Government to take measures against media houses or editors outside of Assam if they could.
According to sources in state police and administration, this is being done to malign the image of Pallab Bhattacharyya (IPS), ADGP of Assam Police. Mr. Bhattacharyya is known to be against fake encounters of innocents and believes in either arresting the insurgents or killing them in real gun battle, unlike his earlier officers. He is also known as one of the greatest officers Assam police has, but his stand is allegedly not going well with several nationalistic and right-wing organizations who calls the shots with the Government.
It is to be noted that this is not the first time journalists or editors are being targeted for publishing news about insurgent groups and leaders. Right from the likes of late Parag Kumar Das and Ajit Bhuyan two decades back. Some days back in Manipur and Nagaland, newspapers have published blank editorials as a protest against Media Censorship naming it as Indian State machinery’s dominance.
Meanwhile, the Assam Police, in a statement issued on Sunday has clarified that no decision about action against media houses for publication of statements of insurgent groups was taken in the meeting of Unified Command Structure at Tezpur.
Anirban Kalita is Executive Editor of News Section. His role is also involved with reviewing, editing of articles before publishing.
By academic Anirban is MTech of Computer Science & Technology.