Attacked for exposing BJP’s plan of rigging: Scribe

Assam journalist Rajen Deka. DH Photo

Rajen Deka’s news item in Dainik Asom, an Assamese daily last Thursday morning about a skirmish between BJP and Congress workers during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections left many in the saffron party angry. 

The news item highlighted how security forces prevented an alleged plan of rigging by BJP workers in a polling station under Mukalmua police station in western Assam’s Nalbari district. Mukalmua falls under Gauhati Lok Sabha seat.

Hours later, Jintu Medhi, a BJP worker took his anger to Facebook and threatened to kill Deka. Around 10.30 pm, Ripul Deka, another BJP worker, came to Deka’s house with the same warning. 

Later, Ripul attacked the motorcycle-borne journalist with a bamboo pole, about 200 metres away from the latter's home. Deka sustained serious injuries on his head, hands and ears and bled profusely. He called for help and somehow reached home. He was referred to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. 

“I knew that they were angry with my news. But I did not expect them to attack me because they are my neighbours. Now it is very clear that I was attacked because my story exposed their (BJP workers) plan of rigging,” Deka told DH from his house in Mukalmua, about 50-km west of Guwahati. 

Deka, 52, father of three daughters has been working as a correspondent of the daily for the past 30 years. Dainik Asom is an Assamese daily of the 80-year-old Assam Tribune group of newspapers, published from Guwahati.   

“A group of BJP workers had gathered at the polling station. A group of Congress workers, who also reached the spot alleged that BJP workers were planning rigging for their candidate Queen Oja. This led to a skirmish but the security forces intervened and controlled the situation,” he said. 

Gauhati seat saw a contest between Oja and Bobbeeta Sharma of Congress. 

Police on Sunday arrested Jintu Medhi but Ripul Deka remained absconding. “The prime accused has not been arrested even after four days. But Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s media adviser Rishikesh Goswami, who called me on Friday morning promised to nab him within 24-hours. I doubt whether he will be arrested at all since he belongs to the ruling party,” said Deka. 

Deka had faced a similar attack from Congress workers in 2008. “I will never bow down to such threat and attack. Journalism is my passion and will continue to do so with honesty and integrity, come what may.” 

Journalists here staged a protest on Monday demanding immediate arrest of the accused and steps to check rising attacks on journalists. Two other journalists were also attacked on Thursday in Tinsukia district and on Saturday in Jorhat district.

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