One More Editor is Shot Dead in Assam

The trouble torn northeastern part of India has witnessed another incident of the killing of a newspaper editor in Guwahati. An unidentified gunmen has shot dead the editor of an Assamese daily ‘Aji’ (meaning today) on the night of March 25 at around 10 pm. The young editor, Anil Majumder was targeted by a group of assailants in front of his residence at Rajgarh locality in the capital city of Assam in Northeast India. The miscreants shot at him in a close range after he returned from the newspaper office and they disappeared from the location.

Majumder was brought to a nearby private hospital, where the doctors declared him dead. He had five bullet injuries in his head and chest. Hailed from the Nalbari district, Majumder, 39, left behind his wife and two daughters. The police remained tight lipped about the assailants of Majumder, whom otherwise they suspect to be a sympathizer of the banned armed outfit, United Liberation Front of Asom, which has been fighting New Delhi for nearly three decades for a sovereign Assam out of India.

Mentionable that Northeast has lost over 20 editor-journalists in the last 15 years and surprisingly enough not a single perpetrator of these heinous crimes was booked under the law. Months back, another young scribe Jagajit Saikia was killed in western Assam. Saikia used to work for an Assamese daily ‘Amar Asom’ and was also targeted by gunmen from a point blank range. He too left behind his wife and a minor daughter.

Similarly unidentified assailants shot dead Konsam Rishikanta, 22, a scribe of Manipur during the same month, November 2008. The Journalists’ Action Committee, Assam, an umbrella organization of scribes had already submitted a memorandum to the Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil demanding punishment to the culprits and urging to ensure the security to the media persons in the conflict ridden region.

The memorandum revealed that Northeast is the home for more than 30 active armed outfits, which have been waging a war against the Indian Union government for various demands varying from sovereignty to self rule. “The militants display a common tendency to defy the democratic values of the country. But the media fraternity, working in the region, does their best to pursue all the values that India stands for. And hence it remains the duty of the government to ensure the safety of these sentinels of the society.

Otherwise, it argued, our claim as the largest democracy in the globe will be in stake,” pointed out in the memorandum. The media rights body also organized a massive protest rally on the premises of Guwahati Press Club following which hundred scribes joined in a procession to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) to hand over the memorandum to the President of India.

The initiative was supported by a number of journalist organizations including the Press Club Kolkata, Agartala Press Club, Shillong Press Club, Sikkim Press Club and All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union. Condemnation on the killings of reporters were also poured from the international media rights bodies like the Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists with the Editors Guild of India, Editors’ Forum, Manipur, North East Media Forum, Assam Press Correspondents’ Union, Journalists’ Forum, Assam etc.