Three of the men accused of last week’s assault on an Assamese journalist were granted anticipatory bail by the Gauhati High Court on Saturday, 21 November. An anticipatory bail is a direction to release a person on bail, issued even before the person is arrested.
Early last week, journalist Milan Mahanta fell victim to a gang of goons who assaulted him in broad daylight. Milan had been working for the local newspaper Asomiya Pratidin and had exposed rampant illegal gambling that had been going on in the area. Those involved in the gambling ring had strong political ties in the Kamrup rural district of the state.
Despite images and videos of the assault going viral on social media, only one out of the five attackers was arrested while the three other men whose names have been identified as Abani Thakuria, Sanja Thakuria, and Biswajit Das sought a pre-arrest bail under section 341/324/325/392/34 of the IPC.
The High Court has scheduled a hearing on 11 December and has asked the three accused to present themselves before the officer involved in the investigation. One of them, Sanjay Thakuria, has been granted exemption until he is discharged from the hospital where he is supposedly recovering from his injuries.
“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, it is provided that in the event of arrest, each of the petitioners named above shall be released on interim pre-arrest bail, in connection with the above-noted case, on furnishing bail bond of INR 15,000,” the court order read.
Attacks and violence against journalists have been increasing in the country causing many to worry about the freedom and safety of these media professionals. The attack on Milan Mahanta took place just 45 kilometers from the state’s capital Gauhati and days after another journalist was killed by being rammed by a moving vehicle near his house.
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