Petrol Bomb Hurled at Padma Shri Awardee Journalist’s House
Two unidentified men hurled a petrol bomb at the residence of Patricia Mukhim, the editor of English daily The Shillong Times, in Meghalaya's Umpling area, the police said on Wednesday.
Mukhim escaped unhurt in Tuesday's attack as the petrol bomb missed the glass panes of her bedroom by a few inches, East Khasi Hills SP Davis Marak said.
The journalist, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000 for her work in the field of social justice and women's empowerment, was home when two men on a motorcycle stopped by her residence and threw the bomb at Mukhim's house at around 8.30 pm, the SP said, quoting an eyewitness.
The attack was widely condemned, with Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma describing it as "unfortunate".
"Such an act of cowardice is unfortunate... I have spoken to the Home Minister and we have coordinated with the DGP in this regard," he told PTI.
Home Minister James Sangma said the police department was doing its best to arrest those involved in the case.
Hours after the incident, Mukhim took to social media, urging the police to take action.
"Criminals are getting away too easily. Police should take every case of arson and attack on press freedom with the seriousness it deserves. Please rise to the occasion," she wrote on her Facebook page.
Mukhim told PTI she saw some flames, and initially thought an electric short-circuit had caused a fire.
The Opposition Congress on Wednesday expressed concern over the incident and said the government should "pull up its socks to tackle the criminals".
"Journalists are being attacked across the country. It seems miscreants are free to commit such crimes," Congress spokesperson Zenith Sangma said.
An attempt was being made to suppress the right to freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution, he added.
The culprits must be given exemplary punishment at the earliest, he said "Peace has been our hallmark, but we will not cower down before forces of evil and no attempt to dissuade us from discharging our professional duties and rendering our service will be ever fructify," he added.
In an editorial piece on 13 April, she had written against a government plan to allow regulated mining in Meghalaya.