Ukhrul: The Ukhrul District Working Journalists’ Association (UDWJA) has expressed strong resentment against the alleged harassment meted out to its member by Assam Rifles personnel at Ramva village in Ukhrul district on Monday.
According to the body, the incident took place at around 8:12 am on Monday when one Subedar Kamla Pati Joshi of 24 Assam Rifles, Shangshak Battalion at Ramva Check Post allegedly harassed journalist Tennoson Pheiray, a district correspondent associated with various media outlets, while on his way to Imphal.
In a statement, UDWJA president Addie Chiphang stated that the journalists’ body, while strongly condemning the incident, resolved not to cover any events/programme of the 24 Assam Rifles, Shangshak Battalion, with immediate effect, till the concerned authority rectifies the misdeed.
“A responsible army officer like Subedar Kamla Pati Joshi’s attitude was uncalled for and very unfortunate,” he said, adding that such unjustified behaviour was least expected from a security force to question someone, even after the scribe identified himself as a journalist.
The journalist was suspected to be one of the high-ranking NSCN-IM leaders, which the body termed as “not acceptable”. The Subedar, however, ignored the journalist’s identification and continually demanded him for proof that he was not the person, the statement said.
On the journalist’s request, the AR personnel showed the image/photo of the NSCN-IM leader from his mobile phone and after a few verbal tussles with the Subedar, the journalist was finally allowed to proceed to Imphal after proper entry of the vehicle in which he was travelling, was made, it said.
Meanwhile, working journalists in Ukhrul were left flabbergasted by the act of the Assam Rifles, curtailing the right of a working journalist. They sought a free and safe environment for the media while performing their duties. The journalists demanded that the Assam Rifles must apologise for their unruly act and assure that no such violation of journalists’ rights take place in the future.
Meanwhile, the Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) has strongly condemned the alleged harassment to the journalist and sought for unconditional public apology from the erring personnel and his commanding officer at the earliest.
Failure to which, the Tangkhul civil body warned of taking actions which the forces will be solely responsible.
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The civil body also alleged that this is not the first case where the colonial armed forces have shown extreme racist and inhumane behaviour towards the Naga civilians travelling in and around the Naga areas and elsewhere too.
The very act that the Subedar portrayed by alleging and harassment the very individual as being similar to someone else is downright disrespectful and degrading to say the least, it stated.
The Nagas will not stand for acts of racism dealt upon anyone from the community, it added.
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