In an interaction with Northeast Now, Mizo young journalist Embassy Lawbei expressed how she was assaulted and allegedly mauled by police near Bairabi along the Mizoram-Assam border.
“Maybe this is how I go, how I die. I could take the beatings but not the bullets, I ran, I was pounded upon with beating so hard I could hardly pull myself away”
That is what a young Mizo journalist Embassy Lawbei thought to herself as hordes of Assam Police personnel assaulted her near Bairabi on Saturday along with another female journalist Catherine C Sangi when they went there to cover the border tension along he Mizoram-Assam border.
Four journalists from Aizawl and one from Kolasib district, who went to the Mizoram-Assam boundary dispute site to cover the news were baton-charged on Saturday. The journalists suffered multiple injuries and psychological traumas inflicted upon by the rounds of rifles fired at them by the Assam Police while Hailakandi District Magistrate Adil Khan stated that ‘minimal force was being used’.
Lawbei, who took post-graduation in Mass Communication from Mizoram University and a correspondent of TV18, is recovering now but still in deep shock and trauma recalling the Assam Police and Assam’s paramilitary forces who surrounded her with “raging eyes.”
She described walking with three co-journalists last Saturday with their cameras in front of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl volunteers trying to reconstruct a rest shed when the shielded and baton carrying police turned on them, in an instant, unleashing their unending blows.
“Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals. The policemen pulled my limbs apart and threw me around,” Lawbei recollected the horror.
Lawbei described crying out for help and pleading them to stop beating her, screaming to the top of her voice that she was a journalist, but nothing would suffice the onslaught.
“In the midst of desperation and utter helplessness I saw my co-journalist Catherine C Sangi in a helpless situation, my inner reserves of strength kicked in, and I stopped wailing and just thought ‘keep calm and carry on’, somehow we managed to slip from the onslaught,” Lawbei recollected.
“As soon as we slipped away, we could hear shots being fired, as far as I can remember eight to nine rounds were fires, we ran as fast as we could and hopped on to the nearest vehicle,” Lawbei said.
Despite the beatings and still in the line of fire the braveheart journalist hanged on to her camera filming clips for her report.
On the verge of psychological breakdown from the trauma she went through Lawbei is determined to stick to her pen and camera. “Don’t let bad experiences ruin your life and determine your future, I had no control and I was mauled. But now I can take control and rebuild my confidence, and learn from my experience,” Lawbei said.
Leaders of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) were injured by bullets fired by personnel of the Assam Police at Zophai in Kolasib district near Bairabi town along Mizoram-Assam border on Saturday and many other students and journalists were injured by baton-wielding Assam police personnel who tried to disperse over 100 Mizo students who were trying to construct a rest shed at the Mizoram-Assam disputed boundary.