The Indian Newspaper Society has noted with concern the circumstances that have led to a decision by The Arunachal Times to suspend publication in order to avoid a confrontation with a student group. The all-powerful group was reportedly permitted by the district administration in Itanagar to stage a dharna outside the newspaper’s office, a move aimed at intimidating the newspaper.

That the administration took the decision without reference to the newspaper was surprising, the INS said in a press statement.

The INS pointed out that this was but another in a series of attacks on the Press in northeastern India, orchestrated by groups that demand only their viewpoint be published, while showing extreme intolerance towards others.

It is necessary for governments to recognise that the right to free speech is enshrined in the Constitution, and must be preserved and defended. Easy capitulation, as has evidently happened in Itanagar, only emboldens those who wish to throttle the Press, the INS statement said.