Shillong: A senior journalist in Meghalaya was on Monday assaulted by a group of masked men while covering a sit-in demonstration organised by pressure groups demanding the suspension of three state police officials in connection with the killing of a former militant leader.
E M Jose, who is the editor of Meghalaya Monitor news portal, was kicked by a masked man while others came shouting at him before the start of the sit-in-demonstration being held at U Kiang Nangbah memorial near Shillong Civil Hospital.
Jose said that he was shocked by the unprecedented attack, even as the Shillong Press Club strongly condemned the incident.
The sit-in-demonstration was organised by the Khasi Student’s Union, Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People’s, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front and Ri-Bhoi Youth Federation under the banner of Ka Sur Ki Nong Mawlai (Voice of Mawlai People) to demand suspension of the top police officials —Director General of Police R Chandranathan, East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police Jagpal Singh Dhanoa and Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Shailendra Bamaniya – for their alleged role in the killing of former HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew in an alleged fake encounter on August 13.
Some of the pressure groups leaders came forward and individually apologised for the incident and later before the start of the event, one of the leaders publically announced the apology.
Later, the pressure groups, KSU, FKJGP, HNYF and RBYF, who had organised the programme tendered an apology on the FKJGP media WhatsApp group.
“On behalf of the FKJGP, KSU, HNYF and RBYF, I sincerely tender my apology to our good friend Bah Jose, for what happened this morning at the sit-in -demonstration, I understand that incident happened outside the venue much before the programme started but we will find out the persons involved and take action. Once again Bah Jose we are really sorry for what happened to you this morning” FKJGP president Wellbirth Ranee said in the WhatsApp message.
In a statement, the Shillong Press Club said it takes with uttermost seriousness and annoyance, the unprovoked manhandling of the senior journalist.
“This is not the first condemnation, and we are determined to ensure that such responses do not cease to come from our end. The incident only goes to show that two hoots are repeatedly dished out to members of the fraternity without whose sacrifices and risks, everyone would be living in the dark starving for information that is prompt, accurate and factual. Unless of course one chooses to depend upon social media as the sole true source of information,” the statement said.
“It is time that such foolhardy mischief be nipped in the bud and henceforth SPC will find it enormously hard to accept apologies or ignorance if such acts of intimidation and obstruction of duty continue. We will continue to serve the best interests of our state and urge all stakeholders to work together and thwart off any attempt to disrupt the little peace and harmony left for us to cherish,” the press club statement stated.