A journalist received head injuries after being beaten up with a bamboo stick by an unidentified attacker late on Thursday night in Assam’s Nalbari district, police said.
Rajen Deka, who reports from Mukalmua for the daily Dainik Asom, received multiple stitches on his head and his condition is now stable, Nalbari SP Amanjeet Kaur said.
Deka could not be reached for comment. SP Kaur said that investigations were on but no arrest has been made yet.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has condemned the attack and promised strict action against the culprits. “The state government is committed to the safety and security of journalists,” he said in a press statement.
Asked whether the attack appeared to have taken place because of any news report or other personal reasons, SP Kaur said the police were looking into both the possibilities.
However, Mujibur Rahman, the general secretary of the Nalbari Press Club, claimed the attack was probably triggered by Deka’s news report on the alleged high-handedness of BJP workers.
According to Deka’s report, a screenshot of which was circulated on Facebook, Congress workers had claimed that BJP workers cooked a meal in the kitchen of a school in Barkhetri, serving as a polling centre during the third phase of Lok Sabha polls, and invited polling officials to eat with them. According to the report, the workers of the two parties then had a fist fight. “There is no other reason behind the attack. His story led to him being threatened and then thrashed,” Rahman alleged.
Munin Bayan, executive editor of Dainik Asom, said, “We have urged the government to nab the culprits soon. There was nothing objectionable in the news report which certain people used to criticise and target him (Deka).”
In another incident in Tinsukia district on Thursday night, a journalist couple – Prasanna Goswami and his wife Upasana – were subjected to verbal abuse by four miscreants at a food joint in the town. “When the owner of the food joint, Rashmi Rekha Goswami, came out to intervene she was attacked. She received minor injuries and was treated. The journalist couple are unhurt. The four men were arrested and are now in judicial custody,” Tinsukia SP Shiladitya Chetia said.
CM Sonowal has condemned the attack on Goswami too.