During a recent protest in Assam, a northeastern state of India, journalists became the target of the protestors – and they are now up in arms about it.
On August 29th the Daily News Analysis (DNA) India reported on a twelve-hour protest held the day before by the All Assam Minority Student Union (AASMU). The student protest was due to the “dissolution of the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council and the arrest of its Chief and former rebel leader Hagrama Mahillary”.
Alas, the protest in Assam turned violent as the protesters and supporters blocked traffic and forcefully closed down shops and hotels. Many journalists were attacked and injured as supporters of the AASMU reportedly tried to prevent the journalists from reporting on the violence that suddenly erupted. At least two members of the media were attacked by supporters of the AASMU protest. Another camera person and a local correspondent were “…assaulted and their camera was snatched away and broken into pieces,” according to one report.
Angered by the attacks on their colleagues, journalists’ organizations have demanded that the AASMU organization be banned and that all the people responsible for the attacks on the journalists be arrested. So far, 19 people have been charged in connection with the violence. In addition, media associations have decided to boycott all news related to AASMU. Meeting at the Guwahati Press Club, 10 media associations demanded a public apology from the student union’s leader. They have also asked editors of other newspapers and news channels not to report on any news relating to the AASMU organization for the time being. It is clear that the journalists are standing up for themselves and demanding their respect and safety while doing their job.
Somebody has to.