'They responded with alacrity on Arnab's arrest': Shillong Times' Patricia Mukhim quits EGI over silence in case against her

Padma Shri awardee and veteran journalist Patricia Mukhim has resigned from the Editors Guild of India and alleged that the body only defends celebrity journalists, reported NDTV.

The journalist who is the editor of The Shillong Times in her resignation letter cited the Arnab Goswami's arrest and said that the Guild responded to the TV anchor's arrest with alarcity. However, it failed to issue any statement in her case.

Mukhim also said that she had briefed the Guild about the case in detail. In her letter, she said, "I now wish to resign from its membership. There are several reasons for doing so. First, as a journalist, I don't belong to that august league of celebrity editors whose newspapers are widely read and web-based news portals are hugely popular."

She added: "I come from the fringes both geographically and in terms of my own status in an association I consider hierarchical by its very composition. I had shared this High Court order with the Guild hoping that it would at least give out a statement condemning it but there was and has been complete silence from the executive."

Earlier, the Meghalaya High Court has refused to quash a police complaint against veteran journalist Patricia Mukhim for her Facebook post which allegedly incited communal tension between the tribal and the non-tribal communities in the state.

Disposing of a petition filed by Mukhim, Justice W Diengdoh said that the investigation agency should be given a free hand to probe into the matter.

"In the event, the investigating agency is required to be given a free hand to investigate the matter and to come to its own conclusion in due process of law.

"Consequently, I find no merit in the instant petition for exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC. This petition is accordingly hereby rejected," the judge said in the November 10 order.

Mukhim had hit out at the Lawsohtun village "dorbar" (council) on Facebook for failing to identify the "murderous elements" after five boys were attacked at a basketball court in July this year.

Eleven people were picked up and two were arrested in the case.

"There is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis--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 Section 153 A (a) IPC as it apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities," the court said.

Despite repeated attempts, Mukhim could not be reached for comment.

The police complaint was filed against Mukhim by the village council on July 6 for her post on the social media, alleging that her statement incited communal tension and might instigate communal 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.

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