Journalist Hofe Dada was confronted and assaulted by four persons while filming a piece on pollution levels at a factory owned by SMS Smelters Ltd in Aruachal Pradesh. One person, Nangram Tapu, has been arrested in connection with the assault.
One of the men who assaulted him said that he will meet the same fate that senior journalist Tongam Rina met when she was shot at in 2012!
Hofe Dada, a reporter with Gyoloo News, told FSC that he had merely gone to the site to check the smoke emanating from the factory’s chimney in Lekhi village. For days, villagers had been complaining of the excessive smoke that was making it difficult for them to breathe. He was trying to take pictures when the men objected to his presence and told him to stop. He was then assaulted.
Here is a video :
Dada has filed a complaint with Nirjuli police:
The incident drew widespread condemnation but the open threat that he would face the same fate as Tongam Rina has shocked journalists in the state. Tongam Rina, currently the deputy editor of Arunachal Times, was shot at by masked gunmen on July 15, 2012, in front of the newspaper’s Itanagar office. Badly wounded, she took more than a year to recover. In the meantime, her struggle for justice remains elusive as all the material case records and video footage in connection with her case are untraceable.
The Arunachal Press Club, Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, and the Arunachal Electronic & Digital Media Association condemned the incident and said that such incidents and attempts to intimidate the media were on the rise.
In a press statement, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, Indian Journalists Union (IJU), denounced attempts to silence Dada and called on the police to hold the perpetrators accountable.
IFJ said: “This recent attack on Dada proves the urgent need for better protection for journalists in India and more accountability within the criminal justice system. IFJ implores authorities to strengthen the criminal justice process to ensure that journalists do not have live in fear for their reporting.”