Indulged in anti-national activities, local press club asked to vacate

Guwahati: Gauhati Press Club (GPC), one of pioneer media persons’
organizations in Northeast, has been asked to vacate their place
inside the city’s Ambari archaeological site in the aftermath of an FIR
lodged against the president and general secretary of the club
allegedly for indulging in anti-national activities.

The archaeology department in a letter dated 1st March 2021 (Ref
no. ARCH.105/2020-21/1461) to the Kamrup metropolitan district
magistrate mentioned about the matter of FIR and requested the
administration ‘to take strict action’ for expelling the organization
from the notified area as it might be a cause of sanctity of the
heritage zone. The club was recently allotted a plot of land by the
BJP led government in Dispur.

It may be mentioned that denouncing the recent mood of common people
against the prolong militancy, GPC had ‘designed to give space to a
separatist leader of a banned armed outfit which emerged as a
terrorist outfit to threat the sovereignty and integrity’ of India and
finally faced the FIR at Latashil police station in the city.

Senior journalist Biswajit Nath, who is a former general member of
GPC lodged the complaint against the president and general secretary
of GPC on 23 February, arguing that the club authority ‘organized a
formal audio interview with Paresh Barua (self-styled military chief
of United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent) at its auditorium on
21 February.

GPC president Manoj Nath and general secretary Sanjay Ray were seen in
live visuals of various news channel outlets where both of them were
sitting on the dais of GPC auditorium. They were seemingly waiting for
the call from the militant leader with an aim to transfer it to the
sound system so that all reporters, who were present on the occasion,
could listen and interact subsequently. And on time, Ulfa (I) leader
called them.

However, because of the interventions of city police personnel the
program could not be managed properly and it finally came to an abrupt
end. But it is beyond doubts that the press club committee
deliberately organized the program and announced about it in advance
that Barua, who had recently threatened to take punitive actions
against two abducted individuals, would be live in the program.

Days back, Barua informed that Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure
Limited employees namely Pranab Kumar Gogoi (hails from Sivasagar,
Assam) and Ram Kumar (hails from Khagaria, Bihar) were in the outfit’s
custody and negotiations with the company management on ransom had
failed. Both of them were kidnapped from Dayun Khumsai drilling area
in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh on 21 December.
Now why necessary actions should not be taken under the unlawful
activities prevention act of 1967 against Manoj Nath (c/o Niyomiya
Barta, Pride East Entertainment Private Limited, Christianbasti,
Guwahati, Assam, m-94350 89498) and Sanjay Ray (c/o The Assam Tribune,
Maniram Dewan Road, Chandmari, Guwahati, Assam, m-80117 45999),
questioned in the FIR.

The petitioner did not forget to mention that since 1998, a small
group of brave journalists and patriotic citizens dared to hoist
National tri-colour in the same club premises defying the diktat of
separatist militant groups including Ulfa. They all took tremendous
risk two decades back while paying tributes to the martyrs of freedom
movement on Independence Day and Republic Day as the militants
threatened them of dire consequences.

Earlier, a north-eastern forum of nationalists Patriotic People’s
Front Assam (PPFA) expressed serious concern over the press club
program and denounced the club committee. The forum mentioned that GPC
has a legacy of anti-terror protests as its member-scribes marched on
the street demanding justice to the family of journalist Kamala
Saikia, who was brutally killed by Ulfa militants on 9 August 1991.
“It is shameful that the press club committee has done mockery to the
spirit of devoted journalists by inviting a dreaded anti-national
militant for a program where he was supposed to address reporters from
an undisclosed location glorifying his stand on separatism, abduction,
extortion etc,” concluded a PPFA statement requesting all media
outlets ‘not to glorify the militants’ beaming their live coverages.

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