Six journalists were attacked by the coal mafia in Tinsukia, Assam when they had gone for their professional duties. The journalists were on their way to Margherita to gather facts of illegal coal smuggling from Coal India. It is then they were attacked by a group of 40 people suspected to have links with the coal mafia. The journalists also went to allege that both Ledo and Tinsukia police station did not take any action regarding the same. The group had to request intervention of Superindent of Police MJ Mahanta. The journalists have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The victims also allege that smuggling of coal is done under the political patronage of BJP MLA Bhaskar Sharma’s right arm Kuldeep Singh and Sandeep Sethia. According to the victims coal worth crores are being smuggled out of the state and exported to Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
This is not the first instance when mediapersons were attacked by the coal mafia. In 2012, a journalist with a private TV news channel was attacked and severely injured by the coal mafia in upper Assam’s Sibsagar district.
Despite round-the-clock vigil illegal coal mining and smuggling going on without any hindrance raising doubt over the role of a section of local traders and policemen. The district administration has stopped illegal coal mining in many places. But huge coal laden trucks are regularly seen plying on these areas.
Following this incident, several trade unions like ATSA are calling for a 24-hour bandh demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.