Saturday, December 9, 2023

Meghalaya High Court finds Facebook post ‘disharmonious’, rejects journalist’s plea to quash criminal proceedings

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Meghalaya High Court has rejected the plea to quash criminal proceedings against a journalist Patricia Mukhim from Shillong for her four-month-old Facebook post condemning the attack on five non-tribal youths by a gang of masked men, allegedly from the tribal community.

The court has rejected her plea considering this post as disharmonious as it “apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities.”

Mukhim, a Padma Shri awardee and the editor of The Shillong Times, has said that she would contest the ruling in the Supreme Court as soon as possible because in her post she had only “raised” the issue of “continued” attacks on non-tribals in the state.

Her post states: “…The attackers, allegedly tribal boys with masks on, should be immediately booked. This continued attack on non-tribals in Meghalaya whose ancestors have lived here for decades, some having come here since the British period, is reprehensible to say the least. The fact that such attackers and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested and if arrested, never penalised according to law, suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed state for a long time now.” 

The alleged post had been written about the attack held on July 3 on a group of boys by another group, resulting in injuries to the victims. Seven persons were arrested.

The high court said after going through the 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. 

“This, in the opinion of this court, would fall on the mischief of Section 153A (a) IPC as it apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities.”

Mukhim told the media: “My Facebook post was not to create communal disharmony but to uphold the human rights of those assaulted by arresting the assaulters so that the rule of law is upheld for every citizen irrespective of community.”

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