Patricia Mukhim, editor of The Shillong Times, resigned as a member of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Tuesday. Convicted of causing communal hatred through her Facebook post in July.
The veteran journalist, known for her outspoken stance on a range of issues and the rights of low-voices in the North East, said the guild was silent about her case, while it condemned the arrest of non-member Arnab Goswami, statement was issued, whose arrest was not done even on the basis of journalism.
On November 10, a single bench judge of the Meghalaya High Court found Mukim guilty of causing communal hatred under Section 153 CRPC and refused to dismiss an FIR filed by Loshasun Dunbar Shong (a traditional institution).
Now that Diwali is over and dusty and things have returned to business as usual, I want to tell you and all the members of this much-awaited league of editors of the most prestigious publications of this country that I am now I want to resign with this Membership.
In a letter to Padma Shri awarded EGI President Seema Mustafa, it has been said that please accept my resignation today, November 16, 2020.
While sharing this order of the High Court with the Guild, I had hoped that it would at least make a statement condemning the HC order but the Executive had complete silence.
Ironically, the guild responded to Bebaki and issued a statement condemning the arrest (a non-member) of Arnab Goswami, not on journalistic grounds but for humiliating him in a suicide case.
There was no immediate response from the Guild.
You should know that Mukhim had criticized the Village Darbar (Council) of Losohtun in her Facebook post for failing to identify the attackers after the attack on five boys in a basketball court in July. Police had detained 11 suspects in this case for questioning, but none were arrested. Mukheem had demanded the Meghalaya Chief Minister and the local administration to take action against the accused.
An FIR was lodged to the police by the Village Council against her for this post of Mukhim. In this complaint, Mukhim was accused of inciting communal tension through Facebook posts. Mukheem had reached the High Court against this. On November 10, a single bench of the Meghalaya High Court convicted Mukheem for disturbing communal harmony and refused to quash the FIR lodged against him.