Journalist Jaikhlong Brahma has been detained since 2 September after being accused of having links with banned armed groups in Assam, India. He is at risk of being detained for 12 months without charge or trial under the National Security Act (NSA).
Journalists Jaikhlong Brahma and Rinoy Basamatury were arrested by police in Kokrajhar, Assam on 2 September on suspicion of criminal offences including multiple counts of conspiracy, being a member of an “unlawful association” and “inciting unlawful activities”. Rinoy Basamatury has since been released while Jaikhlong Brahma remains in detention without charge.
Jaikhlong Brahma was remanded in judicial custody by a local court for two weeks after his arrest on 2 September. A detention order under the NSA, which allows administrative detention for up to 12 months, was issued by the head of the local administration on 9 September. Jaikhlong Brahma continues to be in detention under the NSA. Administrative detention is a system that allows the authorities to detain individuals by executive order without charge or trial, and denies them the safeguards of a fair trial as required under international law.
The NSA detention order states that Jaikhlong Brahma “has been indulging in various types of violent activities with secessionist aims”. It also states that he maintained “personal link with the [outlawed] National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) (NDFB(S)),” provoked and abetted the NDFB(S) to commit killings and arson, and accepted money from the group in exchange for producing and broadcasting video reports about it.
According to the NSA, a non-judicial Advisory Council must submit a report to the Assam authorities with its opinion on whether there is sufficient cause to continue detaining Jaikhlong Brahma within seven weeks of the start of his detention. Based on that report, the state authorities may continue to detain him for up to one year without charge or trial.
The Kokrajhar Press Club has issued a statement refuting the allegations against Jaikhlong Brahma, and stated that his wife is also facing harassment from the local police. In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar, they stated that journalists in Kokrajhar are being targeted by police.
|Journalists Union of Assam(JUA) condemns the arrest of Jaikhlong Brahma , Kokrajhar correspondent of NewsLive TV Channel on August 2, 2014. The allegations of police against Mr Brahma that he is helping the NDFB (Sangbijit) group, a Bodo ultra organization for long and passing information of movement of police to the ultra group are totally false.There are tussles between the police and the local journalists for long on the issue of news coverages of the ultra groups. The local journalists cover the incidents of violence, exchanges of fire between rival groups etc taking risk of their life, however the police reaches the place of incidents much later due to its own inefficiency.|
The recent killing of Priya Basumatari a class nine student near Runikhata by the NDFB (Sangbijit) in front of her parents and the villagers exposed the hollowness of the police force as the police went to the spot after 24 hours.
Brahma took interview of a leader of the NDFB(Sangbijit) group in presence of the villagers at the spot.
The journalists of Kokrajhar area have doing commandable job for they are disseminating accurate and immediate information of violences , motive and movement of the ultra groups to the people as well as to the security forces.
However the police have failed to control the violences and ultra groups and they are now trying to cover up its failure by accusing and booking journalists.
The police also raided the house of Rinai Rasumatari a correspondent of NewsTime TV Channel and issued arrest warrant against him.
JUA and its parent all India organization Indian Journalists Union (IJU) demand immediate release of Mr Jaikhlong Brahma and urge the government to ensure freedom of media and to uphold its right to not to disclose sources of news.