Editor’s murder exposes Assam’s trigger-happy scenario
Anil Mazumdar, 37, executive editor of Assamese daily Aji, became the 21st journalist in Assam to have been assasinated since 1991, the year the trend of muzzling the media began. Mazumdar was gunned down just outside his home late o Tuesday night in Guwahati, reports Rahul Karmakar.india Updated: Mar 26, 2009 01:31 IST
Anil Mazumdar, 37, executive editor of Assamese daily Aji, became the 21st journalist in Assam to have been assasinated since 1991, the year the trend of muzzling the media began. Mazumdar was gunned down just outside his home late Tuesday night in Guwahati. The police, as in the other three killings this year, are yet to identify the killers.
In 1991, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) set the trend by killing teacher-journalist Kamala Saikia for criticising its ideology. The next few years claimed six prominent scribes before Parag Kumar Das, allegedly a pro-ULFA scribe, was killed on May 17, 1996.
Geetartha Pathak, president of Journalists’ Union of Assam, said, “The past six-seven years have been more dangerous for scribes than even when the ULFA was at its peak in the early 1990s.”
The reason? Columnist Ajit Bhuyan, a former colleague of Mazumdar, said, “There are too many state and non-state players to contend with.”
As expected, Mazumdar’s murder has become an election issue. While Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi promised that the assailants “won't go unpunished”, the BJP and Asom Gana Parishad temporarily stopped their campaigns to protest the “throttling of the media” by the Congress.
And it’s not only the militants or ex-rebels who exterminate journalists. Prahlad Goala of Golaghat town paid with his life for running a crusade against illegal timber trade in 2006. In April last year, Mohammed Muslimuddin was killed for a series of expose on a drug cartel in central Assam's Nagaon district.