Assam police.The investigating agency interrogated many individuals including some former ULFA militants including Kushal Duori, Raja Mumin, Jit Shyam, and Netra Chetia. Today, except for Kushal Duori, who is now an MLA from Assam, all three are dead. The agency submitted its report in 2008 saying that they could not arrive at any conclusion as there were no such evidence against the accused. Following this, the eldest son of Kamala Saikia, Dhananjoy, appealed to the designated court on June 27 2008, seeking justice. Finally, the Assam police chief was ordered to re-open the case and re-investigate the issue.A prompt investigation into this case was demanded and a memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi on August 3 2003. Over 30 editors, journalists and intellectuals signed the memorandum, which expressed resentment against the fact that even 12 years after Saikia’s assassination, no visible progress had been made
on the investigation. Later the Journalist Kamala Saikia Memorial Trust, established in 2002, once again submitted a memorandum to the chief minister on August 6 2006 on the same issue, but no visible outcome resulted. “It is a matter of grave concern that the family of a journalist, who was killed to stop his critical writings against the banned outfit, has had to wait for justice for all these long years,” said Kanaksen Deka, a Senior Editor and the President of JKSM Trust, adding, “Even today, the family and the entire media community of Assam do not have any idea, if justice will be delivered in the coming days.”In fact, working in insurgency stricken Assam is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists. The ongoing insurgency and unrest among the youth of this region, where a number of armed outfits have been fighting New Delhi on various demands varying from sovereignty to self-rule, put tremendous challenges on the journalists based in the State. They are subjected to numerous threats from insurgents, surrendered militants and even the anti-insurgent security personnel.The statistics reveal that the trouble-torn State has lost a good number of dedicated editor-journalists besides Kamala Saikia. Other victims include Deepak Swargiary, Kundarmal Agarwala, Manik Deuri, Prarag Kumar Das, Ratneswar Sarma Shastri, Nurul Haque, Jogesh Uzir, Dineswar Brahma, Girija Das, Monikan Das, Ranbir Roy, Prahlad Gowala, Maslimuddin Ahmed, Bodosa Narzary, Jagajit Saikia, and Anil Majumder. Shockingly, not a single perpetrator has been punished to date.
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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at email@example.com
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