AR officer accused of abusing reporter

Dimapur, November 17 (MExN): A reporter from a local daily is said to have been verbally abused and mistreated by an Assam Rifles officer and personnel today at Imkongmeren Sports Complex in Mokokchung. The incident happened during an Assam Rifles recruitment rally, where the journalist, a correspondent of Nagaland Post was verbally abused by the military personnel. A note from the MPC identified the AR officer as one Major Sandhu.
The Mokokchung Press Club today issued a statement narrating the turn of events. According to the MPC, the reporter had responded to the invitation of the district administration (SDO Civil) of Mokokchung. The correspondent went to the complex to cover the Assam Rifles recruitment rally that was underway. On reaching the ground, the correspondent met the driver of the SDO (C) who took the reporter to a  sentry at the gate. The driver identified to the sentry that a Media person had arrived as requested by the officers.
“But the sentry refused entry to this reporter and instead informed that his officers will be contacted first. Waiting at the gate  for quite some time, the reporter decided to leave and returned to his vehicle. But before reaching the vehicle, one Major Sandhu came up from behind and started shouting at the reporter using derogatory and racist language and told the reporter to get out,” the MPC stated. Even the sentry and other jawans of the AR ordered the reporter to immediately leave the venue, the MPC explained.
“Subsequently, the reporter walked back to the car and drove towards the exit. While exiting, the reporter saw the officer making disparaging gestures at him with both fists, to which he gestured back. At that moment, the officer ordered his jawans to stop the reporter’s car. Immediately the reporter stopped the car and the officer came rushing to the vehicle shouting again using foul languages. The officer even went to the extent of snatching the car key of the reporter’s vehicle. At that moment, the 2IC of Assam Rifles and the SDO (C) came to the spot and tried to pacify the reporter and persuaded him to come back. But the correspondent demanded to the 2IC that the major come to the reporter personally and apologize. After saying those words, the reporter left the venue.”
“The derogatory language he used against the reporter, who was in the scene on invitation of the concerned authority, was so unbecoming of any responsible officer. The abusive language he used before confiscating the reporter’s car key and shooing him away was racist in nature and disparaging in intent,” the MPC note said.
The MPC said Major Sandhu’s bigoted remarks are not befit to be mentioned in the communiqué. They are a downright contradiction with the Assam Rifles’ slogan ‘Friends of the hills people,’ the MPC said.
“The MPC demands the Major Sandhu to personally apologize to the reporter in concern and it is also expected of the concerned authority to look into the matter so that such unwanted incidents do not occur in the future,” the MPC has demanded.
The Press club has also written to the Deputy Commissioner of Mokokchung highlighting the abuse. “While it is regretful that such incidents like this are being meted out to the press fraternity regularly, we earnestly request your esteemed office that due provision be made for the press in the future during occasions when the district administration invite the press,” the club requested. The club also expressed distaste that the AR recruitment rally was a Media-restricted event and “we remain in the dark as to what is going on behind the closed doors.”
“Yes, this incident is indeed a grave happening for the press fraternity, and we pray the district administration will in good faith pursue for the freedom of the press and the welfare of the people,” the journalists added.

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