The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed by the acquittal of the sole surviving suspect
in the murder of journalist Parag Kumar Das in the state of Assam in India in 1996.
Das, who was the executive editor of the Assamese-language daily, Asomiya
Pratidin, was shot dead in broad daylight in a busy part of Guwahati city
in the northeastern Indian state, as he was fetching his son from school.
At the time, the state government responded to widespread public outrage
of its handling of the case by handing it over to the police agency controlled
union government: the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Four persons, all surrendered militants of the separatist insurgent
group, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) were formally indicted for
the crime in 2000. By the time the trial began in 2004, all except one of the
accused, Mridul Phukan, had died.
“We are deeply saddened that despite the lapse of so many years, justice
has not been done for the slain editor”, said IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
The IFJ lends its full support to numerous journalists unions and
associations in Assam,
who have demanded that the acquittal be appealed in the Guwahati High Court.
The trial judge reportedly issued severe strictures against the
investigating agency for failing to produce any substantive evidence linking
the suspect to the crime.
“We urge the investigating authorities to remedy all procedural lapses
and gather the evidence required to bring those responsible for the heinous
murder of a distinguished Indian editor to account,” Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries