23 October 1997


Newspaper editor target of repeated arrests

Incident details

Ajit Bhuyan



(CPJ/IFEX) - Ajit Bhuyan, editor of the widely read
Assamese-language newspaper "Asomiya Protidin" ("Assamese Daily")
and its sister paper, the Assamese-language weekly "Sadin"
("Seven Days"), has been the target of repeated arrests since
August 1997. According to news reports, Bhuyan has been linked by
state authorities to the banned United Liberation Front of Assam
(ULFA) and with complicity in the kidnapping and murder of social
activist Sanjay Ghosh, who died while in ULFA custody. Since 25
August, he has been arrested and charged with related crimes four
times. Most recently, on 1 October, he was accused of having ties
to the ULFA and charged under the National Security Act with
"trying to wage war against the country."

Bhuyan, who is in very poor health, is currently hospitalized in
the Assam Medical College Hospital under judicial custody.

Local journalists note that Bhuyan is respected by his colleagues
and his papers are held up as examples of critical reporting in
the midst of a tense separatist conflict.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • expressing concern that Ajit Bhuyan may have been targeted
    because of his papers' coverage of the separatist conflict in
    northeastern India
  • fearing that the arrest of Bhuyan could damage the long-standing
    tradition of press freedom in India
  • urging them to do everything within their power to investigate
    the arrest of Bhuyan and to ensure that his case does not
    represent an attack on the press
  • further urging them to make public their findings and to
    guarantee that journalists may practise their profession free
    from government intimidation and reprisal

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Inder Kumar Gujral
    Prime Minister
    Office of the Prime Minister
    South Block, New Delhi 110 011
    Fax: +91 11 3016857

    President Shankar Dayal Sharma
    Office of the President
    Rashtrapati Bhavan
    New Delhi 110 004
    Fax: +91 11 301 7290

    Mr Indrajit Gupta
    Minister of Home Affairs
    Ministry of Home Affairs
    North Block
    New Delhi 110 001
    Fax: +91 11 301 5750

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Committee to Protect Journalists
    330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001
    info (@) cpj.org
    Fax:+1 212 4659568

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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