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Scribes protest attack on Patricia Mukhim�s residence

By Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, April 19 - The Shillong Press Club (SPC) today held a silent rally in protest against the petrol bomb attack on the residence of senior journalist Patricia Mukhim and demanded that the perpetrators of the crime should be identified and arrested.

The march began from the premises of the SPC at Lachumiere here and after moving from the Barik Point to the Raj Bhavan, it culminated at the SPC again.

In the procession, Mukhim, too, joined hands with journalists from across the State with messages of solidarity pouring in from different associations and press clubs from the region and across the country.

The newspaper hawkers� association also extended support to the protesting journalists. Later, Mukhim said that the attack on her residence was perpetrated by �anti-democratic forces.�

�In a democracy, everyone is entitled to their opinions and views. There can be differences of opinion and there are forums to air these differences and come to a consensus, but there is no space for violence in a democracy,� she maintained.

Stating that no force can stifle the freedom of the press, Mukhim added that journalists across the State and the country must stand united and strongly oppose such acts of violence.

SPC president David Laitflang said that those involved in the crime must be identified and arrested. He also echoed Mukhim that nobody can intimidate the media, and that the press would continue to bring out the truth fearlessly.

A petrol bomb was hurled at the residence of Mukhim on Tuesday evening by two unidentified persons. The police have launched an investigation into the case.

A PTI report adds: The Editor of English daily The Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim, was on Thursday provided armed security guards by the police in the wake of the hurling of a petrol bomb by unidentified men at her residence on Tuesday. The police also ordered a tight vigil near her residence here.

The journalist, who was awarded Padma Shri in 2000 for her work in the fields of social justice and women�s empowerment, was home when two men on a motorcycle stopped by her residence and lobbed the bomb.

�Two armed guards have been given to Mukhim based on the current threat perception,� a senior police officer told this news agency. He said the journalist had earlier filed an FIR with the district police after one person had issued a death threat to her on Facebook.

While no arrest has been made in this case, the police are looking at possible clues to solve the case, the officer said.

State Home Minister James K Sangma said, �Adequate security has been provided to the Editor in view of the incident on Tuesday.� He said police patrolling in and around her residence at Umpling has been ordered to ensure that a sense of security prevails in that area.

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