Padma Awardee editor of Shillong Occasions ridicules Editor Guild’s letter to Assam CM

Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service
Kolkata, November 19

Patricia Mukhim, the Padma Awardee editor of The Shillong Times, one of northeast’s’ oldest English dailies, has ridiculed Editors’ Guild of India for writing to chief minister of Assam about violence against journalists in the state.

“So the conscience of the Editors’ Guild of India is now awakened about a periphery called Assam. A delayed letter written to Assam CM about ongoing incidence of violence against journalists and urging him to take steps to ensure their safety. Wow so noble,” Patricia, who resigned from her membership of Editors’ Guild recently in protest against the watchdog’s refusal to take up her case, said in a tweet.

In a letter written to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday, the Guild expressed concern about “growing incidents of violence against journalists in Assam”. The letter, signed by Guild president Seema Mustafa, general secretary Sanjay Kapoor and treasurer Anant Nath, mentioned the recent incident of journalist Milan Mahanta being tied to a pole and beaten mercilessly for daring to expose land and gambling mafia of Kamrup district. A video of the assault went viral.

The Guild’s letter also mentioned the unnatural death of journalist Parag Bhuyam who was run over by a car. According to the editor of the paper Bhuyam was working for, the reporter was murdered for exposing corruption and illegal activities in the Kakopathar area of Assam.

A list containing names of 31 journalists killed in Assam since 1991 was appended with the letter. The Guild said most of these murder cases remained unresolved and urged the state government to take necessary steps so that “media can operate without fear” in Assam.

Mukhim quit Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Tuesday in protest against the watchdog’s “complete silence” on a recent Meghalaya High Court ruling which refused to quash an FIR against her and held her guilty of creating communal disharmony through a Facebook post in July.

In the FB post, she had commented on an attack on a group of non-tribal boys by a group of tribal youths in Shillong.

Accusing the Guild of elitism, the veteran journalist had said that while the Guild was silent about her case, it issued statements condemning the arrest of non-member Arnab Goswami whose arrest was not on grounds of journalistic pursuits.

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