The Sadar Thana has registered the case under sections 452 [House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint], 511 [Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment], 147 [Rioting], 149 [Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object] and 427 [Mischief causing damage] of the Indian Penal Code. The accused have been sent to five days police remand.
The cause of their ire is baffling to say the least. It transpires that they believe that NOW! inflated the margin by which Bibi Doma Tamang lost the ward election. Incidentally, some other sections had highlighted this to the NOW! office a earlier in the day and a corrigendum projecting the figures claimed by them included in Thursday’s edition. It now transpires that what this ill-informed group believed to be an “inflated” margin is in fact the vote-share for the ward officially released by Returning Officer for North Sikkim.
Be that as it may, the group held dearly to their grouse and targeted the NOW! office with vandalism after festering over it throughout the day. The incident has been condemned by political parties and media groups across the board, and seeing the attack on the NOW! office as an assault on all media and joined hands under the banner of the Press Club of Sikkim to not only condemn the incident in their papers, but also on the streets. They marched down from the PCS office on DPH road to the NOW! office in a protest rally as a show of solidarity and to send out a clear message that attacks on the media will attract forceful and unanimous condemnation.
Before that, the journalists called on the DGP Jasbirbir Singh at his office regarding the incident and presented a written representation signed by all journalists present. During the half-hour meeting, the DGP assured that the police would take the most stringent action and increase the police strength at Tadong Out-Post due to the presence of many media houses in the area.