Guwahati: Guwahati Press Club (GPC), one of the pioneer media persons’ organizations in the Northeast, has been asked to vacate the place inside the Ambari archaeological site of the city in the aftermath of an FIR lodged against the president and general secretary of the club allegedly for indulging in anti-national activities.
The State archaeology department in a letter dated 1st March 2021 (Ref no. ARCH.105/2020-21/1461) to the Kamrup metropolitan district magistrate mentioned 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 prolonged 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 the 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 the Dayun Khumsai drilling area in the 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 the 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 coverage.