Guwahati, November 12: The Meghalaya High Court has declined to quash a criminal case against a senior Shillong-based journalist for her Facebook post about continued attacks on non-tribal people in the State.

Patricia Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times had on July 4 said Meghalaya has been a failed State because of continued attacks on non-tribal people and that the attackers and trouble-mongers have never been arrested since 1979. Mukhim was referring to an attack on a group of non-tribal boys by 20-25 unidentified youths at a basketball court in the Lawsohtun area of Shillong on July 3.

Mukhim also reminded the Dorbar Shnong (traditional village governing body of the Khasi tribe) of the locality of its obligatory role of keeping vigil and helping to apprehend the culprits.

After the police registered a criminal case against her on the basis of a complaint and asked her to appear before the investigating officer, Mukhim approached the High Court for relief. She said she had only expressed concern about the handling of the assault case by the police and the Dorbar Shnong while hoping it would not be lost in the police files.

Hearing the case on November 10, Justice W. Diengdoh observed that the Facebook post sought to create a divide in the “cordial relationship between the tribal and non-tribal” people living in Meghalaya, The Hindu reported.

“…on going through the said Facebook post… what can be deduced is that there is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis-à-vis their rights and security and the alleged tipping of the balance in favour of one community over the other,” the court said, before rejecting Mukhim’s petition to quash the case against her.

Mukhim said she would now approach the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, a Manipur TV journalist has been in an Imphal jail since September 29 on charges of inciting enmity between two communities via a Facebook post, The Hindu reported.

Kishore Chandra Wangkhem was booked for responding to a viral social media post by the wife of a high-profile BJP leader. The post, the woman belonging to the Maram community was in response to an alleged racial comment about her by a Meitei woman.

The 39-year-old journalist was earlier arrested in April 2019 on charges of sedition for criticising Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s decision to commemorate Rani of Jhansi’s battle against the British.

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