News reports under scanner
DIMAPUR, JANUARY 6
EVEN as questions are being raised about the unregulated discharge of news and information on social networking sites, especially in connection with the December 27 incident in Assam’s Karbi Anglong and the violent repercussions thereof, the role of the traditional media, in particular the newspapers, to present accurate facts and information has become all the more pertinent. Authorities on both sides of the border have lamented that most newspaper reportage on the current Karbi Anglong and Chumukedima incidents has been “inaccurate and terrible, quite frankly.”
This was rendered even more glaring by false newspaper reports about the “arrest” of four Nagas by Assam police in connection with the firing incident at Kara Rongpi village on the night of January 4 last.
At least one Assam-based newspaper went up to the extend of writing that the “arrested” four were also suspected to be involved in the “killing of nine persons in Chumukedima, Nagaland” while one of the local newspapers in Nagaland had reported that “five persons were arrested” in connection with the Kara Rongpi incident. None of it was true.
On Monday, it was confirmed that only one person was arrested by Assam police. His arrest was made solely in connection with the Karagaon Rongpi incident and has nothing to do with the discovery of nine corpses in Chumukedima.
According to the SDPO of Bokajan police station, Shankar Raimedhi (IPS), four suspects were “apprehended”, and not arrested, by Assam police. Out of the four suspects, three were released after establishing their innocence and the remaining one “arrested.”
While the identity of the one arrested could not be established till the filing of the report, he is confirmed to have been arrested from Borlengri area in Dimapur. As quite succinctly put by one police officer, “I cannot help it if a journalist cannot differentiate between the words ‘apprehend’ and ‘arrest’.”
Also, police records put the number of Rengma refugees in relief camps (in Assam) at 1186 as of Monday afternoon. Raimedhi however admitted that the numbers were in constant oscillation.
Currently there are at least 9 relief camps giving shelter to displaced Rengmas and Karbis in Assam, out of which 5 belongs to the later. Police information said that 1682 Karbis are taking shelter in relief camps. All the relief camps are confined to Borpathar and Chokihola areas.
The Assam police pointed out that they have arrested 10 Karbis suspected to be involved “in arson.” We have also arrested 4 KPLT linkmen earlier, said the SDPO ,contrary to popular opinion that the Assam police have been alleged of inaction
In total, around 22-25 villages – both Karbi and Rengma – have been affected by the incident, he said and added that there have been reported cases of arson in four Rengma villages.
The SDPO informed that the “situation is completely under control” in the affected areas while informing that 13 platoons of Assam police and 10 Companies of CRPF have been dispatched to heighten security.