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Assam to fast-track cases of crime against journalists

The organisations claimed there have been almost 25 attacks in as many years.

Written by Express News Service | Guwahati |
September 13, 2013 5:36:41 am

After journalists’ organisations in Assam complained about poor conviction rates in crimes against journalists,the state has agreed to consider fast-tracking cases. The organisations claimed there have been almost 25 attacks in as many years. The matter was raised at a two-day sitting of the Press Council of India’s sub-committee on saf-ety of journalists. The state government said investigations into most cases were on and chargesheets had been filed in at least 12.

“We will take up the matter with the judicial department and ask for cases to be fast-tracked,” Assam Home Secretary Mukti Gogoi said. The state will consider providing compensation to journalists and their family in such cases,he said.

The journalists’ organisations countered that no verdict had been pronounced even in two high profile cases — the murders of Sivasagar-based journalist Kamala Saikia (1991) and Guwahati-based editor Parag Kumar Das (1996). “In almost all the cases no culprit has been arrested,let alone convicted and punished. This sends the message that one can get away scot free after murdering or assaulting a journalist in Assam,” Nava Thakuria,general secretary of the Guwahati Press Club said.

He produced a list of 26 journalists who have been killed in the state. But Gogoi said there were 20 cases of murder and assault on journalists since 1991,two of which were handed over to the CBI.

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