Unidentified miscreants on Thursday attacked a journalist in Assam’s Nalbari district.
The journalist, identified as Rajen Deka, was severely injured when miscreants attacked him on his way home at Mukalmua.
He was admitted to local health centre and later shifted to Gauhati Medical College Hospital where his condition is said to be stable. He has received multiple stitches on his head.
Deka, 48, works with Dainik Asom, one of the oldest Assamese daily.
According to police, the journalist was attacked with bamboo poles.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has condemned the incident and asked DGP Kuladhar Saikia to take quick action.
The local journalists claimed that Deka had an argument following a news report against a section of BJP workers.
“The BJP workers also threatened him on social media and went to his home. It’s not just him, this could have happened to anyone of us,” Mujibur Rahman, general secretary of Nalbari Press Club, told Outlook.
Police, however, said that it’s too early to comment. No one has been detained for questioning yet.
“We have got a few leads and we are investigating. We first need to ascertain whether the scribe was attacked due to a personal or professional issue. At this moment we can’t say if the claims and allegations are true or not,” said Amanjeet Kaur, Nalbari SP.
Various media bodies have staged protests and demanded strict punishment for the culprits.
“The situation has become very dangerous and we have almost lost press freedom. If such situation prevails, media will have no value in democracy. And it’s also very unfortunate that the police haven’t arrested anyone even after 18 hours of the incident. We feel insecure,” said a journalist during a demonstration in Nalbari town on Friday.
The journalists have also threatened to boycott all government-related news if no action is taken within 24 hours.
In a separate incident in Tinsukia district, Upasana Barua Goswami, a journalist with a local television channel was also allegedly attacked by a group of four miscreants when she went to a restaurant with her family.
All four of them, identified as Pramod Gogoi, Pragjyoti Das, Dhananjay Dutta and Dwipan Sonowal have been arrested, a senior police officer said.
The journalist, employed with News18 Assam-Northeast, claimed that she visited a restaurant late on Thursday, where the miscreants tried to misbehave with her.
"The men, in an inebriated state, tried to misbehave with me, but the owner of the restaurant immediately intervened. One of them suddenly slapped the female manager and others started attacking me and my husband," she said.
Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has expressed serious concern over the attack on the two journalists.
“We reiterate our old demand for a special protection law to safeguard the scribes across India. Moreover, we urge the media fraternity to get united and pursue quality journalism as it becomes need of the hour,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria.
(with PTI inputs)