Once the occupants left the house with their
hands raised, the armed men forced Bhuyan to
accompany them inside the house. They searched and
ransacked the entire three-story building, which
also houses the offices of Bhuyan's newspaper.
According to Bhuyan, nothing was taken from the
residence or the office.
Bhuyan later told reporters that he felt his
life was in danger and that he was being targeted
because of his newspaper's criticism of the Indian
Army in Assam.. "I strongly feel that the Army has
become a constant threat to the lives of honest
Indian citizens who have been speaking out for the
oppressed masses," he said.
After the raid, military authorities in Assam
faxed a letter to local newspapers denying
responsibility for the incident. "It is likely that
some people may be operating in various places
posing as Army personnel and conducting 'raids',"
the fax said. Bhuyan was informed privately by
local police officials that they had no prior
knowledge of or involvement in the raid, despite
laws that require army units to be accompanied by
local police or magistrates on investigative
Bhuyan believes that those who participated in
the attack were soldiers because they spoke Hindi,
which is not the local language, and because he
recognized one of the men as an army captain. Other
than the brief denial sent to the newspapers, no
official statements explaining the incident have
been made by police, military, or governmental
As a well-known journalist in Assam, Bhuyan's
stinging attacks on the Indian army and local
corruption have frequently brought him into
conflict with the government. He was arrested four
times in 1997 under various national security laws.
He was arrested the same year for complicity in the
kidnapping and murder of social activist Sanjay
Ghosh. In each instance, he was released and never
tried nor convicted of any crime.
The current attack on Bhuyan has a chilling
similarity to events prior to the 1996 murder of
Assamese editor Parag Kumar Das, with whom Bhuyan
worked closely. Before he was killed, Das had been
repeatedly charged with crimes for which he was
never tried and his home was raided by military
authorities. His murder remains unsolved.
As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the
defense of our colleagues worldwide, the Committee
to Protect Journalists decries the harassment of
Bhuyan We fear that without immediate intervention
by higher authorities, Bhuyan may be killed. We
respectfully call on Your Excellency to use the
powers of your office to launch an immediate
investigation into the raid on Bhuyan's home and
office and to make the findings of that
We look forward to your response.
Ann K Cooper
Help Protest This Attack on the
Add your voice to CPJ's:
His Excellency Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
Office of the Prime Minister
New Delhi 110 011, India
Send a fax to:011-91-11-301-6857