Beating of Mizoram journalists by Assam Police: NHRC’s full order on complaints by MJA and ACHR

The Mizoram Journalists’ Association (MJA) and  Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) filed complaints with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the brutal torture of journalists including Ms Emmy C Lawbei by the Assam police at Assam-Mizoram border, a disputed area near Bairabi town in Kolasib district of Mizoram on 10 March 2018.

The NHRC in its order dated 22 March 2018 issued the following order:

The Commission has received a complaint from the Mizoram Journalists’ Association, Aizawl alleging physical assault and lathi charge committed on journalists by the Assam police at Zophai Bairabi area in Kolasib district of Mizoram near Assam border, on 08.03.2018 and 10.03.2018.

It is mentioned in the complaint that the victim journalists had gone to Zophai to perform a ground report as there was tension between Mizo Zirlai Pawl, a student organization of Mizoram and the Assam police which escalated due to lathi charge done by the Assam police on the journalists. It is also mentioned that the journalists were displaying their press identity cards to the police personnel but they were not spared and were beaten black and blue. Many of the journalists, including women, have sustained serious injuries. It is further stated that the Mizoram Journalists’ Association called a General Body Meeting which held on 12.03.2018, at Aizawl Press Club Conference Hall and also a sit-in demonstration was organised on 13.03.2018, to express their plight.

The Commission has perused the contents of the complaint, narrating the alleged high handedness by the Assam police committed upon the journalists who were doing their job of reporting a particular incident. It is also mentioned in the complaint that not only the journalists were lathi charged, the police also fired gun shots during the action.

The Commission takes cognizance of the complaint and directs issuance of Notices to the Directors General of Police, Assam and Mizoram calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks.

The Commission has received another complaint from Shri Amal Kanti Chakma, Complaints Coordinator, Asian Centre for Human Rights, on the same subject which has been registered vide Case No. 4/16/5/2018. To avoid parallel proceedings in two cases, registered on the same subject, the Registry is directed to close the Case No. 4/16/5/2018.

The instant case to continue. The Asian Centre for Human Rights be informed that they can view progress of this case at the website of the Commission i.e. www.nhrc.nic.in.”

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