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Assam scribe facing sedition charge released on bond

Photo used for representational purposes only. File | Photo Credit: Mahesh Kumar A.
Special Correspondent GUWAHATI 06 December 2021 14:51 IST
Updated: 06 December 2021 14:55 IST

FIR filed against him for an allegedly divisive editorial

Anirban Roy Choudhury, editor and co-owner of a news portal in southern Assam who was slapped with sedition, was released on a personal recognisance (PR) bond on Monday.

The police in Silchar town had charged him with sedition on the basis of a first information report (FIR) filed by Santanu Sutradhar, a local businessman and member of the All Assam Bengali Hindu Association on December 2.

Mr. Choudhury was also charged with other sections of the Indian Penal Code for a November 28 editorial that was allegedly aimed at igniting enmity between the Assamese and Bengali-speaking people of the State.

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The Barak Valley is dominated by Bengalis and Brahmaputra Valley by Assamese speakers.

“About 150 journalists from across Cachar district converged on Sunday and resolved to write to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma requesting him not to take any action against Mr. Choudhury, editor of local news portal Barak Bulletin,” said Silchar-based journalist Aniruddha Laskar.

The journalists pointed out that the FIR was an infringement upon the right to the freedom of expression of media houses.

Several journalists accompanied Mr. Choudhury to the Silchar Sadar police station where he was summoned at 11 a.m.

“The police questioned him for an hour and let him go on a PR bond,” Mr. Laskar said.

The case against Mr. Choudhury, however, will run its legal course. He said he would move the court for bail on December 7.

Advocate’s arrest

The editorial found objectionable was titled “Welcome to the Paradise of the Spineless – We are Assamese”. It was published after a former BJP leader and Gauhati High Court advocate Pradip Dutta Roy was also charged with sedition and arrested in Silchar on November 27.

Mr. Roy had objected to the use of only Assamese language in a hoarding on a government scheme, pointing out it should have been in Bengali, the official language of the Barak Valley under the Assam Official Language (Amendment) Act, 1961.

The hoarding was taken down and replaced with another displaying slogans and information in both Assamese and Bengali.

Mr. Roy, sent to judicial custody till December 10, is undergoing treatment at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital for a liver ailment.

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