Dimapur, May 8: The media fraternity of Nagaland has strongly condemned the assault meted out on a journalist by police personnel in Dimapur on May 8.
Condemning the incident, the Nagaland Press Association (NPA) said it has taken a serious note of the incident where Prasanjit Dutta, a Reporter of Nagaland Page, was slapped, abused and intimidated by a GRP officer at the Dimapur Railway Station on Friday even when he identified himself as a journalist.
In a condemnation note, NPA president, H Chishi pointed out that the Central and State Governments have understood the significant role of media in the current time of crisis and had deemed it as part of essential services that needed to function during the lockdown.
In this connection, the NPA urged Nagaland Government to direct the state police not to impede the free functioning of the Press and also to sensitize police personnel to allow journalists to work without any obstacles.
The Dimapur Press Club has expressed outrage over the assault on a journalist in Dimapur, who is a Reporter of Nagaland Page and a bona fide member of the Club.
Prasanjit Dutta, a Reporter for Nagaland Page, was assaulted by a GRP officer even after producing his Press ID card. Further, the Reporter was asked if he’s a Muslim and told to go back to ‘his state’.
The incident happened when the Reporter was returning home after covering an event organised by Dimapur Red Cross.
The DPC said time and again, over the years, journalists in Nagaland have been at the receiving end of police brutality and highhandedness. On countless occasions, Nagaland police personnel have assaulted journalists in the state with impunity.
“However, the frequency of such distasteful policing, if indeed the men/women in khaki consider assaulting civilians an act of policing, does not in any way abate the shock with which the Dimapur Press Club received the news of physical assault and communal abuse meted out to one of our members by the police in Dimapur on Friday, a press release issued by its President, Dilip Sharma and General Secretary, Henlly Phom stated.
The DPC condemned the action and the language of the GRP personnel, in the strongest term; and demand punishment befitting of such repulsive abuse of power.
“We fear that if such actions are left unpunished, the functioning of a free press in the state would be put in serious jeopardy,” the DPC stated.
The Kohima Press Club (KPC) has strongly condemned the undue assault of a Reporter of Nagaland Page by a police officer on May 8 in Dimapur.
The KPC said it is highly unfortunate that media persons on duty are time and again blatantly harassed without provocation. The KPC express dismay to learn that the journalist, who was returning home after covering a Red Cross Society event, was not only manhandled but was also attacked with racial slur by a GRP police officer even after he produced his Press ID card and identified himself as a media person.
“We are seized with apprehension that such intimidation and high-handedness of a law enforcing officer brings to question the safety and security of journalists. Such unruly action, if not restrained, will detriment the freedom of the Press,” KPC President, Alice Yhoshü and General Secretary, Atono Tsükrü stated.
It also urged the state Government to take steps to enable the Press to discharge their duties in a free and fair manner.
(Page News Service)