Tongam Rina
Tongam Rina. Image credit - Northeast Now

Justice continues to elude Arunachal Pradesh journalist Tongam Rina, eight years after she was shot outside her office.

The state’s media fraternity too has been feeling let down.

Rina, who survived the murder attempt on July 15, 2012, says she had always kept faith in the judiciary and police.

But the eight-year wait has somehow made her doubt her own belief.

Speaking to her colleagues at the Press Club here on Thursday, Rina said: “It is time the judiciary, police and the state government come up with answers on the case, answers I have been denied for so long.”

“I want to know what is happening in the case. I want to know who tried to kill me,” said Rina, the associate editor of The Arunachal Times.

She added that the case record sent to the principal bench of the Gauhati High Court on July 25, 2014, reportedly for some other case, is yet to be returned.

The files reportedly containing the records of the case are still in the Gauhati High Court.

Rina said the police had filed a charge-sheet more than a year after the shooting incident took place and she is yet to give a statement on the same even after all these years.

“I was called to give my statement by the court once in December 2013, but I was not in the country then. So I could not make it. I had, however, written to the court and Itanagar police stating my inability to attend the hearing,” Rina said.

Rina said she had written to the Itanagar police in January this year seeking some clarity and information on the case. The police’s reply was ‘not satisfactory’.

In his reply, the Itanagar police station officer-in-charge said one Inspector Anand Roy was the investigating officer of the case although his present status is retired/dead.

For the other queries, the police officer has asked the information seeker (Rina) to consult the court.

Unknown gunmen had shot Rina when she was entering her office on that fateful day.

She was left critically injured, bullets damaging her backbone and intestines, as the miscreants had fired from a close range.

Tongam Rina said important evidence related to the attack on her office (The Arunachal Times) by unidentified miscreants on April 15, 2012, are still untraceable at the court as well as the custody of the Itanagar police.

Rina said there is no trace of the CCTV footage pertaining to the case in the court while the Itanagar police station cannot find the five computers of the office that the miscreants had damaged.

“When we asked the court officials about the CCTV footage, they said there is no entry in the court record,” the journalist said.

“The officials reasoned that the case was registered before the bifurcation of the judiciary from the executive, so it was likely that there was no entry of the same in the records of the court,” Rina said.

“The police, however, say that the CCTV footage was submitted to the court,” Tongam Rina said.

“As I said, we have always trusted the judiciary, but now I think, if this can happen to us, what would happen to the common masses,” Rina said.

Capital superintendent of police Tumme Amo, when contacted, said inspector Roy (the investigating officer) had died and inspector Inya Ete, the officer to investigate the case, has been asked to help the Itanagar police.

Ete, then a sub-inspector, is now the officer-in-charge of Doimukh police station.

About the CCTV footages that have gone missing, the SP said those were submitted to the court along with the charge-sheet and other relevant evidence.

Amo, however, admitted that the computers were not sent to the court.

“The three desktops which were in a completely damaged condition and two TFTs (screen monitors) which were partially damaged were not sent to the court as per our records and they are also not traceable in the Itanagar police station malkhana (storeroom),” he said.

“We have asked the seizing officer (Ete) to come and help us in tracing them,” added Amo.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com