The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked
and outraged at the murder of journalist Jagajit Saikia in India’s north-eastern state of Assam on November 22.
the Journalists’ Union of Assam (JUA),
a unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), Saikia was shot by a group of armed men as he proceeded
by motorcycle from his office. The incident happened at 1:30pm in a busy
commercial area in the town of Kokrajhar.
Saikia, a correspondent for the Assamese language daily Amar
Asom, suffered five bullet
wounds to the chest and one to his head. He was declared dead on arrival at a
the second journalist murdered in India’s north-east in the past
week. On November 17, Konsam Rishikanta, 22, was killed in Imphal, capital of
the state of Manipur.
In Assam alone, 16
journalists have been killed since 1991. In April, Badosa Narzary, owner of
local channel BL TV, was killed by unidentified gunmen in Kokrajhar.
sources reportedly said that based on a preliminary examination of the used
bullets recovered from the spot, any
one of the militant groups active in the area could be responsible for Saikia’s
was among five towns in Assam
targeted by a series of bomb blasts on October 29 in which more than 80 people
were killed. Security agencies have since taken into custody militant cadres of
the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB),
one of many armed outfits fighting for the political autonomy of the Bodo
tribal group in Assam.
Government has re-imposed a ban on the NDFB under a law covering “unlawful
The NDFB, which entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government
in 2005, denied involvement in the
Sources in Assam inform
the IFJ that Saikia maintained contacts with the NDFB as part of his
appeals to State security agencies and militant groups in India’s north-east to respect the
right of journalists to access information from all sides of a conflict
situation,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
above all, that the non-combatant
status of journalists in zones of armed conflict and insurgency be treated as
an inviolable principle, in
accordance with United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1738 which obliges all parties to a
conflict to protect journalists reporting in conflict areas.”
The IFJ extends
its sympathy to Saikia’s family and supports the JUA in its protest campaign, which begins tomorrow,
demanding action to end violence against media personnel in Assam.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 120