Veteran journalist and Padma Shri awardee Patricia Mukhim has resigned from the Editors Guild of India (EGI), alleging that the esteemed scribes' body "defends" only celebrity journalists.
Mukhim, who is also the editor of leading daily The Shillong Times, said that the EGI was silent about her case, while it issued statements condemning the arrest of non-member Arnab Goswami (Republic TV Editor-in-Chief) whose arrest according to her was not even on grounds of journalistic pursuits.
"I have sent my resignation letter to the EGI on Monday as the Guild had taken a different stand on my and Goswami's case," she told IANS over phone.
The Meghalaya High Court Judge Justice W. Diengdoh on November 10 in his ruling found Mukhim guilty of creating communal disharmony a crime under Section 153 CrPC and refused to quash an FIR filed by the Lawsohtun Dorbar Shnong, a traditional institution in Shillong.
"I had shared the single bench order of the High Court with the EGI expecting that it would at least issue a statement condemning the court's order but nothing was done yet.
The Guild responded speedily and issued statement condemning Goswami's arrest (a non-member), not on grounds of journalistic pursuits but on an abetment to suicide case," Mukhim said.
There was no reaction from the EGI yet about the resignation of the Shillong Times Editor.
Mukhim on a Facebook post recently lashed out at the Lawsohtun village "dorbar" (council) for failing to identify the "murderous elements" after five boys were assaulted by masked people at a basketball court in July this year.
Two people were arrested after the incident.
A complaint against Mukhim was filed with the police by the village council on July 6 for her Facebook post, claiming that her statement provoked the communal tension and might instigate ethnic conflict.
She was subsequently booked under Sections 153A -- promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and other provisions of the IPC.
The High Court in its judgment had observed : "There is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis-a-vis their rights and security and the alleged tipping of the balance in favour of one community over the other.
This in the opinion of this Court would fall on the mischief of Indian Penal Code as it apparently seeks to endorse disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities."
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