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Gauri Lankesh murder: Why no outrage for 32 journalists killed in Assam, asks local press

No one has been convicted of killing these journalists, some of whom mediated between the government and extremist outfits like Gauri Lankesh, who was gunned down at her home in Bengaluru.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2017 19:33 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Gauri Lankesh,Gouri Lankesh,Gauri Lankesh Murder
Journalists, activists hold protest against Gauri Lankesh's murder in Mumbai.(Shashi S Kashyap/HT PHOTO)

Journalists’ organisations in Assam condemned Gauri Lankesh’s murder but resented the indifference of the rest of India to the killing of at least 32 journalists in the state since 1987.

Till date, no one has been convicted of killing these journalists, some of whom mediated between the government and extremist outfits like Lankesh.

“Assam has been one of the most dangerous places in India for journalists. Sadly, the country beyond has hardly taken note of fellow scribes killed in the line of duty in Assam while none of the cases has been solved yet,” Nava Thakuria, secretary of Guwahati Press Club, said .

Other north-eastern states too have been hazardous for journalists. Some like Thounaojam Brajamani of Manipur News were killed while militants shot others in the leg for allegedly being government agents.

A majority of the journalists killed in Assam were by outfits such as United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the now disbanded Bodo Liberation Tigers. The most high-profile among the victims was Parag Das, executive editor of Asomiya Pratidin.

Believed to have been an ideologue of the ULFA, Das was allegedly killed by surrendered militants of the outfit in May 1996.

The first of the murders of journalists in Assam was of Punarmal Agarwal, a correspondent of The Assam Tribune. He was killed by suspected ULFA militants at Kampur in 1987.

Two of the journalists killed – Indra Mohan Hakasam of Amar Asom and Dwijen Das of Ajir Batori – are presumed dead after unidentified miscreants abducted them in the early 2000s. Another journalist named Anjur Borbora vanished mysteriously from Kolkata less than two decades ago.

The last journalist killed in Assam was Raihanul Nayoom of Dhubri in 2012. He was a reporter for a local publication named Gana Chabuk.

Some of the cases involved investigative reporting on smugglers and Mafiosi organisations. Suspected timber smugglers killed Pabitra Narayan of The North East Times in Sivasagar district in August 1995.

A couple of killings were attributed to hired assassins. Freelance journalist Dinesh Brahma of Dhubri was believed to have been silenced by such killers in March 2003.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 11:30 IST