Indian newspaper editor shot, in critical condition

New York, July 16, 2012–Authorities must immediately investigate Sunday’s attack on Tongam Rina, a journalist for a local Indian daily, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rina was in critical condition today in a local hospital, according to news reports.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Rina, an associate editor of the English-language Arunachal Times, outside her newspaper office in Itanagar, capital of the Arunachal Pradesh state on the border with China, according to news reports. Rina, who is also president of the Arunanchal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, was shot from behind at about 6 p.m., the reports said. The Hindustan Times reported that the journalist underwent surgery to remove a bullet from her stomach and may have suffered spinal damage.

The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear. Rina, a political reporter who has written many investigative articles, had written critically about a project to build 150 dams in local rivers that environmentalists believe threatens the state’s forests, according to The Global Post. She was also vice president of the Siang People’s Forum, a civil society organization that opposed the dams, the Post reported.

“We are deeply concerned about Tongam Rina’s well-being and wish her a swift recovery,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “Journalists working in the northeast states of India are vulnerable to attacks that too often go unpunished. We urge police in Arunachal Pradesh to investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The offices of the Arunachal Times have been attacked in the past. On April 15, a group of unidentified men attacked the office and destroyed several computers, according to local news reports. No newspaper employees were harmed, and police have not established a motive or made any arrests in that attack. It is not clear if the incident is related to Sunday’s shooting.

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