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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Assam doctor booked for allegedly ridiculing tea-tribe community in satire

The doctor claimed his writing was not against any community but a commentary on criminals like the ones who were responsible for the lynching of a doctor in a tea estate in Jorhat in August.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2019 09:54 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Tea garden workers gather to weigh tea leaves after plucking them at a tea estate in Assam’s Nagaon district,.
Tea garden workers gather to weigh tea leaves after plucking them at a tea estate in Assam’s Nagaon district,.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
         

Assam Police have booked a 68-year-old doctor and popular author in Jorhat in Upper Assam on charges of creating enmity between groups after a complaint which alleged that his recent satirical piece ridiculed the tea tribe community.

Denying the accusations, the doctor said his writing was not against any community but a commentary on criminals like the ones who were responsible for the lynching of a doctor in a tea estate in Jorhat in August.

“We registered a case on October 4, after a complaint against Dr Bikaas Barooah under section 153A of the IPC. The complaint said his article in Prantik magazine insults the Adivasi (tea tribe) community. The article has the potential of disturbing the law and order situation,” said Ranjit Chetia, officer in-charge at the Jorhat Police station on Sunday adding no arrest have been made.

Section 153 A of the IPC deals with instances of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.

JM Dutta, the joint secretary of the Sanmalita Nagarik Mancha, Jorhat, said the group lodged a complaint against Barooah, a popular writer and Pradip Baruah, the editor of the fortnightly Prantik, a widely-red Assamese magazine published from Guwahati over Barooah’s column in the recent edition.

Chetia said that the editor of the magazine has not been booked. “It is under investigation,” he said

“In his recent satirical column in the magazine, titled Ajgar (python), he ridiculed the tea tribe community in a malicious language. He compared them to animals and described them as black, alcoholics and cannibals,” said JM Dutta adding that since the “writer was assaulting the indigenous people it is our duty to complain.”

Barooah, a regular contributor to Prantik, rubbished the allegations. “It’s a purely satirical piece and it’s very clear. It is about one person who represents group of criminals. It is not against any religion or community,” he said adding that he has been disgusted, sad and angry over recent incidents including the lynching of Dr Deben Dutta at the tea garden hospital, at the Teok Tea Estate in Jorhat.

In August, the 73-year-old Dr Dutta, resident medical officer at Teok Tea Estate was lynched allegedly by a mob comprising mostly of tea garden workers who alleged that his delayed response was responsible for their colleague’s death.

Barooah described Dutta as a good, helpful, innocent friend he had known for years.

“A few people were involved in that crime at Teok and most of them have been arrested. You can’t insult the entire community,” JM Dutta said.

Calls to phone numbers listed in Prantik either did not connect or went unanswered.