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India 25 March 2009

Newspaper editor gunned down in Assam

Reporters Without Borders is shocked by last night’s murder of Anil Majumder, the editor of the local daily newspaper Aji, in Guwahati, the capital of the northeastern state of Assam. He was shot dead by gunmen who were waiting for him as he arrived home from the newspaper.

Majumder’s Assamese-language newspaper had been campaigning for peace talks between the government and the United Liberation Front of Asom, an ethnic guerrilla group that has been fighting for regional independence since 1979. The police quickly launched an intensive investigation, working on the assumption that the ULFA was behind the shooting.

“We offer our condolences to Majumder’s family and friends,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He was a courageous journalist who never hesitated to criticise the terror reigning in northeastern India. He had been involved in many controversies since taking over as Aji’s editor and had often said he feared for his life.”

The press freedom organisation added: “The situation of journalists working in this region is of great concern. They often pay dearly for refusing to docilely relay the propaganda put out by the various parties to the conflict. We urge the government to do everything possible to determine the motives of this murder and identify and arrest those responsible.”

Majumder, 39, was shot seven times in the chest. “He was returning from his office and was about to enter his residence when unidentified gunmen fired at him,” a senior police officer said. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Majumder bought Aji three years go. He previously edited the daily Natum Din and the weekly Saptahik Janamat. He began his career as a reporter for Ajir Batori, an Assamese-language daily, in the city of Nalbari.

Majumder’s murder comes just four months after Jagajit Saikia, the correspondent of the regional daily Amar Asom, was gunned down in the Assamese city of Kokrajhar.


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