Condemning the attack on an Assamese news channel - Prag News by security forces, the News Broadcast Federation (NBF) on Saturday, has issued a press statement on the same. Stating that the CCTV footage had caught the unprovoked attack by security forces on the news staff, NBF has stated that it was an attempt to intimidate journalists in the line of duty. Standing by journalists' right to report, NBF called for punitive action against the security forces involved.
The News Broadcasters Federation strongly condemns manhandling by some security forces on the journalists of Prag News - one of Assam’s leading news channels. The CCTV footage clearly shows there was an unprovoked assault on the Prag News staff and the security forces personnel also unlawfully entered the premises and in a clear attempt to intimidate journalists in the line of duty. The NBF strongly defends the right to report of all news channels and calls upon all those concerned to take punitive action against personnel involved in this infringement of media freedom.
The video dated 12 December and released by Prag News shows CRPF officials enter the news channel's Guwahati office premises and attacking one of their employees during working hours. Apart from this, the CRPF officers are also seen entering the reception of the office in an attempt to intimidate their staff. Prag News has stated that CRPF has beat up three of its staffers on Thursday.
Assam has been on the boil for the past several days as thousands of people have come out on the streets to protest against the amendment of the Citizenship Act. Two persons were killed in police firing in the state on Thursday. Tens of thousands of protesters against CAB descended on the streets of Assam on Wednesday, clashing with police, with a large number of protestors detained by the police in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, etc. Five columns of Army have been deployed to Assam, apart from the Assam rifles which are already stationed in the state. While the Assam government has relaxed the curfew from 9 AM to 4 PM in Guwhati, suspension of internet services across Assam has been extended to December 16.
The Citizenship Amendment Act amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to make refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. Moreover, the Act exempts exempt the inner line permit areas in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh and areas falling under the Sixth Schedule in the region. The Act is applicable to the members of these communities having arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.