Guwahati: Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA), a forum of nationalist citizens in northeast India, while expressing serious concern over a declared media interaction with a separatist militant leader who continues to threaten the seventy and integrity of India at Guwahati Press Club (GPC) recently, demanded an unconditional apology from the press club committee.
Mentionable is that the club committee organized a formal audio interview with Paresh Barua, the self-styled military chief of banned United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent, in its premises at 6.30 pm on 21 February 2021. The press club office bearers including were clearly visible in live footages of various news channels as they were eagerly waiting for the militant leader’s expected call.
From the dais of GPC auditorium at Ambari locality in the city, one office bearer received the call from Paresh Barua and was supposed to transfer the sound system so that all present reporters could listen to his voice and then interact. But because of the arrival of some police personnel on duty, the program was abruptly concluded.
It is beyond doubt that the press club committee desired to provide space to the militant leader who recently threatened to execute two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited (namely Pranab Kumar Gogoi and Ram Kumar), who were abducted by his armed cadres from Diyun drilling locality of Arunachal Pradesh on 21 December and since then they are under their custody.
People of the region may remember how a small group of journalists and patriotic citizens dared to hoist National flag at the same press club premises defying the diktat of militant groups including the Paresh Barua led Ulfa. They took it as a mission to pay tributes to the martyrs of India’s freedom struggles even though the separatist militants threatened the participants of Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations of dire consequences.
“GPC has a legacy of anti-terror protests as its member-scribes marched on the street demanding justice to the family of journalist Kamala Saikia, who was brutally killed by Ulfa militants on 9 August 1991,” said a PPFA statement adding, “It is shameful that the press club committee has done mockery to the spirit of devoted journalists by inviting a dreaded anti-national militant for a program where he was supposed to address reporters from an undisclosed location glorifying his stand on separatism, abduction, extortion, etc.”