The Itanagar police have arrested one person in connection with the June 29 assault on journalist Hofe Dada.
Hofe, a reporter with Gyoloo News, had been at the SMS Smelters Ltd in Lekhi village, where he was allegedly reporting on the high pollution levels produced by the factory. He was reportedly accosted by four men, who asked him why he was reporting on the factory, slapped him, and threatened him. According to Arunachal Times, one of the men told him he would "meet the same fate" as Tongam Rina, who was shot at in 2012.
A case was registered at the Nirjuli police station, and the police arrested one person, Nangram Tapu, on Tuesday, June 30. Arunachal Times reported that Nangram works as a security officer at the factory. The report added: "Capital SP Tumme Amo informed that the alleged accused has filed a counter FIR, alleging that Dada had trespassed the premises of SMS Smelters. Dada, however, denied the allegation, saying that he had filmed the factory from the terrace of a building near it."
Media associations condemned the attack on Hofe, including the Arunachal Press Club, the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, and the Arunachal Electronic & Digital Media Association. In a statement, they said: "Such complaints of intimidation have been received on several occasions earlier as well...While we will not remark on the merit of any accusation or whether the goons have any connection to the firm in question, we appeal to the Arunachal Pradesh Police to ensure a thorough investigation into the matter."
The International Federation of Journalists and the Indian Journalists Union also denounced the "attempts to silence Dada". The IFJ said there's an "urgent need for better protection for journalists in India and more accountability within the criminal justice system", while the IJU said the police must "expedite the investigation" and take "decisive action" against the culprits.
Independent media is on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis in India, as elsewhere, telling stories that need to be told and asking questions that need answers. Support independent journalists by paying to keep news free. Subscribe to Newslaundry today.