The Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) has condemned the unprovoked assault on a journalist of Nagaland by a Government Railway Police (GRP) official.
The journalist, who was assaulted by the GRP official, works at Nagaland Page in Dimapur.
FMP Northeast convenor Samrat Choudhury in a statement on Saturday said the reporter, Prasanjit Dutta, was beaten up while he was returning home from his work.
“The introduction of a communal angle in the assault further aggravated the seriousness of the incident,” said Choudhury.
“Implicit bias on a communal basis amongst the police, or any government official, is a serious issue not only in Dimapur or Delhi, but around the world, with certain communities—for instance, blacks and Hispanics in America—being routinely subjected to worse treatment by police officials,” FMP said.
In India, Delhi Police have set up a special cell mostly with officials from the Northeastern region which has helped in tackling incidents of “such bias within the force”.
“However, there are many different kinds of bias across the country, relating to religion, ethnicity, gender and class, and much more needs to be done to tackle the ill effects of such prejudices in policing,” said the statement.
The FMP Northeast convenor informed that Nagaland Police acted swiftly to initiate disciplinary action against the erring GRP official.
The official also tendered an unconditional apology within 24 hours of the incident.
“Cases of xenophobia and racial profiling relating to the coronavirus pandemic have been reported from various locations, and denounced by many including the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” said FMP.
FMP hoped the police forces in the country will take steps to sensitise their frontline staff against acting in ways that propagate such behaviours during the “stressful times”.
“Journalists are also at the same frontlines of democracy at all times, even during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.