In what can be seen as “oppression on press freedom”, a Mizoram jounalist was beaten black and blue by Assam police on Saturday while she was covering a students’ protest, in Assam-Mizoram border, over a border dispute, reports News18.
The journalist, Emmy Ci Lawbei, who works with New18, sustained grievous injuries on her shoulder and back. She was immediately rushed to Bairabi Hospital for primary treatment.
“I was travelling from Aizawl at 6 am along with other reporters. All the journalists were ahead of the students. There was some verbal exchange followed by lathi charge. Police started chasing us, beating everyone on the way,” Ms. Lawbei posted on her Facebook account.
In her post, Lawbei alleged that police kept beating them even after they told them that they were journalists and not protesters.
“I screamed and said I’m a journalist but they keep beating us. I felt a sharp pain on my butt, back and my arms,” she said.
“Police also opened fire and I was so scared, I started running back towards the car. I saw my other female journalist running towards the car and I followed her. Police keep chasing, screaming and beating us. No matter how many times I shouted I’m a journalist, they turned a deaf ear,” Ms. Lawbei said, according to the report.
She added:” I also saw another reporter getting hit on his head, he lost his glasses and ran towards safe area. Another Reporter from Kolasib also got injured. I ran as fast as I could and got into the first car I saw.We all returned to Bairabi hospital and got medical treatment.”
On Wednesday, police clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPc with immediate effect of Hailakandi district, bordering Mizoram. According to a report in firstpost.com, the move followed “information from reliable sources that some individuals and organisations from the Mizoram side are planning to intrude into Assam’s territory with the intention to encroach forest land and erect permanent structures, including religious structures.”
Tension has been prevailing in the area ever since some members of Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), an apex student body, entered Assam and erected a working shed and a temporary checkpost, which were later dismantled by the state police personnel, according to the police.
The Feautured Photos used in the story are from Emmy Ci Lawbei’s Facebook profile. The Manipur Post doesn’t claim copyright for the photographs.