'I screamed that I am a journalist, but they kept beating me': News18 reporter assaulted by Assam Police near Mizoram border

A journalist working for News18 Assam-North East was lathicharged by the Assam Police while reporting on the Assam-Mizoram border on Saturday.

Emmy Ci Lawbei was assaulted when she was reporting the border tension between Assam and Mizoram. According to her, as she was reporting, members of a Mizo student's body clashed with the Assam Police. A group of journalists, including Lawbei, were caught in the clashes and were lathicharged by the cops.

File image of Emmy Ci Lawbei. Facebook/Emmy Ci Lawbei

File image of Emmy Ci Lawbei. Facebook/Emmy Ci Lawbei

Lawbei sustained grievous injuries on her shoulder and back. Following is the first-person account of Lawbei:

I was travelling from Aizawl at 6 am along with another female reporter from All India Radio (AIR) and three reporters from the local media. We reached Bairabi at around 11 am and immediately met the leaders of a Mizoram student body.

Before we even had time to meet the Assam officials who were posted about 100 feet away, the Mizoram students decided to move ahead and construct the rest shed. All they carried were logs for the construction, no other weapon.

All the journalists were moving ahead of the students, and as soon as the Assam police saw us approaching them, they assembled everyone and blocked the students from proceeding further. The students were determined to reach the area and construct the shed.

There was some verbal exchange followed by lathicharge. Police started chasing us, beating everyone on the way. I screamed and said I'm a journalist but they kept beating us. I felt sharp pain on my butt, back and my arms.

Police also opened fire and I was so scared — I started running back towards the car. I saw the other female journalist running towards the car and I followed her. Police kept chasing, screaming and beating us. No matter how many times I shouted I'm a journalist, they turned a deaf ear. There was one policeman who was trying to stop other Indian Reserve personnel from beating me, but it didn't help.

As I was running, I was trying to film the firing and saw that they were still firing at us. They destroyed the camp where the students spent the night. I saw a student getting shot on his leg and falling to the ground. Two other men helped him up and ran towards the bus.

I also saw another reporter get hit on his head. He lost his glasses and ran towards a safe area. Another reporter from Kolasib also got injured on his arm. I also ran as fast as I could and got into the first car I saw. We all returned to Bairabi hospital and got medical treatment"

Assam police has zero respect for journalists. They knew that we were journalists and yet they assaulted us. It was a horrible experience but I hope as negative as this was, it would bring something positive out of the situation.”

Updated Date: Mar 10, 2018 20:57 PM

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