Guwahati: The issue relating to intimidation of two Guwahati based scribes by armed militants belonging to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) receives national attention as the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) has taken strong objection to it. In a statement issued by IJU president K Sreenivas Reddy and secretary-general Balwinder Singh Jammu on 6 March 2021, the largest journo-body also expressed serious concern over the fate of two engineers kidnapped by the banned outfit on 21 December. They have urged the Assam police to probe the matter sincerely and asked the media fraternity in Assam to stand by journalist PK Gogoi and Dikshit Sarma, associated with the city popular digital news outlet Time8. Despite repeated apologies from them the separatists are acting funny, stated the IJU release. The ULFA (Independent), which has been waging a war for an independent Assam abducted both the engineers namely Pranab Kumar Gogoi and Ram Kumar working for Haryana based Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited. The militants took umbrage at some comments made by the journalists during a discussion on the kidnap for ransom and demanded an apology. Fearing for the safety of the kidnapped engineers both the journalists immediately tendered an apology but the militant outfit issued three statements within 20 hours, the last two of which targeting Dikshit. First, they took objection to the body language of Dikshit and next to the language of him. The IJU expressed serious concern over the development. Recalling the past instances where the ULFA leaders played this kind of tricks when they had already killed abducted individuals but continued negotiations with the victim families, the journalist body requested the militants to clarify the whereabouts of Gogoi and Kumar, who were expected to be released on 4 March. Lately, the outfit is trying to blame the scribes for the fate of abducted employees. Mentioning that Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) had earlier urged the State police to unearth if any, conspiracies against a particular media person, the IJU also echoed similar views asserting that if anyone was pushing false information to armed rebels with an aim to settle personal scores that must be considered a serious crime.
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