Silent protest against petrol bomb attack

SHILLONG: “Journalists would not dilute their writings because some criminals are after their blood,” was the loud and clear message of the media fraternity here during a solidarity march on Thursday to protest against the petrol bomb attack on the residence of Patricia Mukhim, Editor of The Shillong Times.
The march began from the Shillong Press Club and traversed Barik Point, IGP, Secretariat and Raj Bhavan before culminating at the club. During the march, journalists with placards and banners demanded immediate action against the perpetrators. Mukhim made a clarion call for the media fraternity to remain united and stand together in all circumstances. “There are some groups, individuals and vested interests who do not want truth to be told about their activities and acts of omission and commission,” Mukhim said and maintained that there is a space for dissent in democracy and people can give rejoinders, write to newspapers if they don’t agree with the views. According to Mukhim, if an individual or a group feels it is misquoted or wrongly reported, there are many ways to resolve the issue and the matter should be discussed and deliberated.
Asserting that there is no space for intimidation in a democracy, she urged the journalists, particularly the young scribes, to stand together for the truth as without truth there is no journalism.
Earlier, Shillong Press Club President, David Laitphlang said, “What we do good, we will do better and even best.”
Laitphlang also warned those behind the attack saying, “Journalists would not dilute their writings because some criminals are after their blood.”
“They will be hunted and penalised and they should spend some quality time in jail,” he added.
The Meghalaya Newspaper Hawkers & Vendors Association (MNH&VA) also joined the protest rally.
Condemnations pour in
The Meghalaya Upper Primary School Teachers Association (MUPSTA) State Level, Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women Theilin Phanbuh, Congress leader John Kharshiing, the State BJP and CSWO have also condemned the attack on the editor’s residence.
CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing termed it as an act of terror that aimed to silence the voice of the media.
West constituency MLA Mahendro Rapsang condemned the petrol bomb attack at Nongsohphoh (Naspatighari) and at the residence of The Shillong Times editor, Patricia Mukhim on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively.
According to him, such incidents bring about disharmony in the society. He has apprised the matter to the concerned authorities to nab the culprits as such incidents continue to happen time and again.
‘Blow to freedom of press’
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also condemned the petrol bomb attack on Mukhim’s house terming it as an attack on the freedom of the Fourth Estate and an attempt to gag the media.
“The attack on The Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim’s residence cannot be treated as an isolated incident. It is an attack on journalism and a clear attempt to gag the media, which is condemnable,” Gogoi told reporters at his Koinadhara residence here on Thursday.
Attacks on women scribes
The National Alliance of Journalists and the Delhi Union of Journalist have blasted the spate of attacks on women journalist raining from a petrol bomb hurled at an editor’s residence, death threats to a cartoonist for her critique of Hindutva and the patronising pat on the cheek of a woman journalist by the Tamil Nadu governor.
The union condemned the incidents which reflect the special targeting of women in the media, be it through physical violence, vicious trolling on social media, filing of court cases or the subtle aggression displayed in direct interactions by politicians and others in power today, the joint statement added.

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