Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said that the media have played a very significant role in moulding public opinion in the state against terrorism, and have not bowed down to the terrorists despite gunning down of several journalists over the years.
Sonowal said, “The role which media have played in the past couple of decades in moulding public opinion against terrorists, has in fact, helped the society stand up united against those who wanted to thrive by wielding guns. Journalists have come under attack and so many of them have laid down their lives. This is a great sacrifice that needs to be recognised.”
The chief minister was distributing cheques worth Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of as many as 32 journalists, 28 of whom were killed in by terrorists, underground groups and miscreants since 1991, and the four who remained missing. While not a single person has been convicted in any of the incidents where journalists were killed, there has been no trace of the four journalists — Ankur Borbora and Patanjan Ali — who have remained missing. The first incident took place on August 9, 1991, in which Kamala Saikia, a 71-year old veteran journalist of Sivasagar was killed.
Sonowal also asked the media to play an important role against corruption, and said that the BJP-led government’s campaign against corruption had already started yielding results particularly because the media was continuously supporting it. “We had promised the people to free Assam from illegal migrants, corruption, terrorism and environmental pollution, and I am glad the media have been supporting our government’s initiatives in these areas from the first day itself,” the chief minister said.
The list of journalists who were either killed by militants and miscreants or have remained missing for years includes: Kamala Saikia, Al-Farid Sajjad, Jiten Chutia, Pabitra Narayan, Kundarmal Agarwala, Kanak Raj Medhi, Parag Kumar Das, Anil Mazumdar, Hemanta Sarma, Jogendra Daimari, Jogesh Uzir, Dipak Swargiyari, Manik Deori, Ratneswar Sarma Shastri,Hari Chandra Boro, Bodosa Narzary, Jagajit Saikia, Dineswar Brahma, Raihanu Niyam from Dhubri; Prahlad Goala, Ranbir Rai, Prakash Hazarika, Krishna Chettri, Bimala Prasad Talukdar, Nurul Haque, Muslemuddin Ahmed, Kaushik Chandra Bora, and Indramohan Hakasam.