Journalists in Mizoram protesting against the brutal attack on them by Assam Police at Bairabi on March 13, 2018. Photo: Sangzuala Hmar

A state-wide sit-in-demonstration in protest against the brutal attack on seven journalists of Mizoram by Assam Police on March 8 and March 11 was held in all the district headquarters of Mizoram on Tuesday.

On March 8, 2018, four journalists – Zohmingmawia, News Editor, The Aizawl Post, also Secretary of Mizoram Journalists Association and R Lalnunmawia, News Editor, Duhlai (Kolasib district) were brutally assaulted by the Assam Police. The journalists went there to cover the standoff between the Mizo Zirlai Pawl volunteers and the Assam Police near Bairabi village in northern Kolasib district of Mizoram. After the journalists complained to the district magistrate of Hailakandi Adil Khan, who was present at the time of the attack, he assured the Mizo journalists that it was a mistake and that it would not happen again.

Despite the magistrate’s assurance that journalists would be respected, four journalists including two female reporters were beaten up by the Assam Police again on March 11 when the latter dispersed the Mizo students who made another attempt to build a rest shed at the boundary. Despite showing their press credentials, the Assam Police spared none and resorted to lathi charge again. Emmy C Lawbei and Catherine C Sangi, both female reporters suffered multiple injuries as a result of the lathi charge by Assam Police.

The brutal acts of the Assam Police have already drawn huge flak from journalists’ bodies across the country. To show solidarity to its co-journalists the Mizoram Journalists Association had organised a statewide protest against the attack.

“Journalists are spared and are being respected even during wars, Assam Police needs to be taught a lesson, a lesson which civilised people had already learnt by default. It is unfortunate to learn that police personnel and district magistrate from the most advanced state of the region have not yet learnt this lesson,” Vanlalrema Vantawl, president of MJA said.

“We will take up the matter to every authority, the physical pain inflicted will be cured, but the utter lack of simple ethics on the part of the Assam Police and the district magistrate cannot be cured, but taught,” Vanlalrema said.

To show solidarity to the injured journalists Mizoram information and public relations minister Lal Thanzara visited the site where the protest was held in Aizawl. Lal Thanzara expressed his condolences and sincere gratitude to the injured journalists.

“This is a huge crime against not only to the journalists of Mizoram, but to the entire fraternity across the globe. It is an attack on democracy. I have taken up the matter with the Assam chief minister  Sarbananda Sonawal, who also holds the information and public relations portfolio in Assam,” Lal Thanzara said.

Simultaneous protests were held in all the district headquarters of Mizoram with each district chapter of the association showing their solidarity.


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