North East

PEC demands ‘authentic probe’ into Assam scribe’s death

194 journalists killed in 2022, says Rights & Risk Analysis Group

New Delhi/Geneva, June 27: The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, expresses concern over the mysterious death of a young Indian scribe and raises demand for an authentic probe to find reasons behind the untimely demise of Abdur Rauf Alamgir (32), who hailed from Assam province in northeast India.

Local media organisations informed that Alamgir went missing on Saturday and his wounded body was found floating in Kulsi river water at Jambari area of Boko locality under Kamrup district on 26 June. A resident of Goroimari Hatipara, Alamgir was associated with a news portal titled TNL. The recently married scribe also ran a customer service centre of a nationalized bank in his locality.


“PEC condoles the sad demise of the young scribe. At the same time, we demand a convincing probe to unearth the factors involved in his missing and subsequent death. Assam province government should take all necessary initiatives to identify the perpetrators even if the scribe was not targeted because of his professional work,” said Blaise Lempen, president of PEC.

A total of 194 journalists, including seven women, were killed across India, by the State agencies, non-state political actors and criminals, and the armed opposition groups (AOGs) during 2022, said a report by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) on Tuesday.

While 103 journalists were targeted by the State actors, 91 journalists were targeted by the non-state actors, including political activists.

“Telangana reported the highest arrest/detention with 40; followed by Uttar Pradesh (6); Jammu and Kashmir (4); Madhya Pradesh (3), Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur and Odisha (2 each); and Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal (1 each). First information reports (FIRs) were registered against 14 journalists under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Sections 124-A (sedition) punishment for defamation (Section 500), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups); Section 66-C, Section 67 and Section 69 of the Information Technology Act; and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” said Suhas Chakma, Director of the RRAG.

In 2022, at least four journalists were summoned for questioning – three by police i.e. Gowhar Geelani and Yash Raj Sharma of Jammu and Kashmir and Wangkhemcha Shamjai of Manipur and Sucheta Dalal of Maharashtra by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi.

In 2022, at least 15 journalists were allegedly physically attacked, molested, threatened and harassed by public officials including police across the country. Odisha reported the highest number of cases with four journalists being beaten by police. At least three journalists i.e. Aakash Hussain, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Rana Ayyub were stopped by the Immigration officials from flying abroad.

During 2022, out of the 91 journalists attacked by the non-state political actors and criminals across the country, the maximum attacks on journalists were reported from Odisha (5) and Uttar Pradesh (5).

Seven journalists were killed by non-state political actors and criminals. One journalist, Subash Kumar Mahto, was killed for his reporting while the rest were killed for personal enmities, road rage etc.

About 41 journalists were targeted by the armed opposition groups in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and the Naxal-affected areas. One journalist identified as Rohit Biswal, a reporter of a daily Dharitri, who was killed in an IED blast triggered by alleged Maoists while performing his official work on February 5.

“The situation of press freedom has not improved during the year and the journalists remained vulnerable to severe attacks from the State and non-State actors, both online and off-line,” said Chakma.

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