Editor of The Shillong Times and a Padma Shri Awardee, Patricia Mukhim on Tuesday resigned from the Editors Guild Of India (EGI), for it's continued silence on the recent Meghalaya High Court ruling against her and defending only celebrity journalists.
Mukhim said that the EGI was silent on her case. At the same time, it issued statements condemning the arrest of non-member Arnab Goswami (Republic TV Editor-in-Chief) whose arrest according to her was not even on the grounds of journalistic pursuits.
The Meghalaya High Court Judge Justice W. Diengdoh on November 10 refused to dismiss an FIR filed against Mukhim, holding her guilty for creating communal tension through her Facebook post she had put up in July.
On July 4, Mukhim had put up a post after some young non-tribal boys, who were beaten up at a basketball court in Lawsohtun village by some miscreants. She had criticised the Lawsohtun village council for failing to identify the attackers. She also pointed out that no one has been arrested in the cases of assault against the non-tribal community in the state. According to Mukhim, she accepted the post as a humanitarian gesture, asking for justice and book the accused.
The FIR was filed by the Lawsohtun Dorbar Shnong, a traditional institution in Shillong, for allegedly trying to incite violence.
She was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc.) and other provisions of the IPC.
The High Court in its judgment observed that there was an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis-a-vis their rights and security and create disharmony among the communities.
Mukhim had brought the Court's observation to the attention of the Guild but received complete silence from their side. She posted a video on social media, confirming her resignation from the Guild.
In her resignation letter, Mukhim gave the example of how the journalists' body responded with "alacrity", and issued a statement condemning Goswami's arrest but did not issue any statement in her case.
"I now wish to resign from its membership. There are several reasons for doing so. First, as a journalist, I don't belong to that august league of celebrity editors whose newspapers are widely read, and web-based news portals are hugely popular. I had shared this High Court order with the Guild hoping that it would at least give out a statement condemning it. Still, there was and has been complete silence from the executive," NDTV quoted her resignation letter to Seema Mustafa, President of Editors Guild of India.