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UDP files FIR against columnist; police register complaint

Persecution and harassment of media continues

SHILLONG: In a grotesque case of arm-twisting of the media, a Jowai-based columnist HH Mohrmen was on Monday detained in police station over two hours for his recent write-up in The Shillong Times questioning the inordinate delay on the part of the Government to come out with an official mining policy.

Police summoned Mohrmen to the Laitumkhrah Police Station to quiz him on edit-page special article directed against the ‘unregulated mining and the flagship programmes’ of the Congress-led MUA government in Meghalaya.

Mohrmen was summoned after supporters of Deputy CM Bindo Lanong lodged a FIR against him. Mr Lanong who holds the portfolio of Geology and Mining, came under scathing attack from Mohrmen for the questionable delay in formulating the Mining Policy.

East Khasi Hills superintendent of police AR Mawthoh confirmed “Mohrmen was questioned based on a FIR filed against him”. He added that the columnist was let out after giving a statement.

Narrating the incident, Mohrmen said he was called to the police station to clarify on a FIR lodged against him. “I was initially forced to sign a bond with the police,” he said, adding that on the intervention of a senior officer and other colleagues from the media, he was let out after two hours.

Mohrmen said he had written a column against the MUA government in which he highlighted the delay of “mining policy” and the need for “managing and controlling mining activities” in the state. It may be reminded that Lanong had earlier announced that the Mining Policy would be a ‘New Year’s gift’ to the people of Meghalaya.

In the FIR five persons alleged that Mohrmen had “tarnished and damaged the reputation” of the Deputy CM.

Intriguingly, all those who lodged the FIR belong to UDP even as the FIR states that the deputy CM i/c mining has already sent the policy on February 27, 2012 “which can be seen from the Cabinet Agenda Meeting on 28th February 2012 at 3.00 PM in the formal item No 3 (copy enclosed).”

Procurement of a copy of the cabinet agenda by ordinary citizens has raised eyebrows as the document falls within the purview of the ‘Official Secrets Act 1923’.

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