GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - The families of slain journalists who were accorded a felicitation along with a one-time financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each by the State government today, expressed satisfaction with the government�s gesture but at the same time were unanimous that ensuring a job to a deserving kin would have been more beneficial to the families. Many of the families had lost their sole breadwinners in attacks by terrorists and anti-socials.
Equally important is the need to book the culprits responsible for the cold-blooded murders and punish them as per law, they observed.
Bishnu Prasad Talukdar, son of Bimala Prasad Talukdar, while thanking the government for the initiative, said it is unfortunate that the killers of his father are still at large.
�My father was a social worker as well and always fought against injustice. The land mafia was behind his killing. We also feel the police were not sincere in pursuing the case. We are still awaiting justice,� he said.
Talukdar was killed at Hojai on September 4, 2010. He was 46.
Naznin Semima Ahmed, sister of Alfarid Sazaduddin Ahmed, said that as was with her family�s case, many families end up losing their only breadwinners in terrorist attacks. �A one-time grant is a good gesture, but it�s more important to provide a job to a deserving member of the family. I was an MA at the time of my elder brother�s unfortunate death and he was the only earning member in our family,� she said.
She added that the government ought to ensure a safe working environment for journalists.
Ahmed died in a bomb blast inside the office of the Sivasagar SP Office on September 10, 1999. He was 36.
Padumi Bora, mother of Kaushik Bora, echoed the sentiments of Naznin, saying that a job for a kin of the diseased in their hour of distress would go a long way in ameliorating their suffering, especially the economic hardships that follow such tragedies.
Kaushik was left badly injured by miscreants at Hojai on May 11, 2013, and he succumbed to his injuries at the GMCH on May 16. He was only 28.
Biraja Hazarika, wife of Prakash Hazarika, said that the one-time grant of Rs. 5 lakh presented to her today is a most humane gesture by the government and it means a lot to her.
�It�s a noble gesture and a much-needed one for a woman like me whose world came crushing down with her husband�s death. I appreciate it, as it will help me a lot in meeting my financial needs,� she added.
Hazarika was gunned down by miscreants at Gohpur on April 13, 2009. He was 62.
Bhubaneswari Devi, wife of Ratneswar Sharma Shastri, said that the public acknowledgement and felicitation to the slain journalists� families showed that society and the government have not forgotten them.
�This was a homage to my late husband as also to many others of his tribe of fearless, upright journalists of Assam who had made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty,� she said.
Shastri, a Gandhian and a freedom fighter, was gunned down on December 31, 1999. He was 78.
Umaruddin, son of Nurul Haq said he had wanted a CBI inquiry into his father�s death. �Today�s public felicitation and acknowledgement of the sacrifices of my father and others of his fraternity is a gracious gesture.
But we also feel that justice has not been done to us in terms of punishment to the killers. In fact, many families of journalists feel similarly. My father�s death was a political murder, and we want a CBI probe into it,� he said.
Haq was killed by miscreants at Hojai on March 4, 1998. He was 54.