On November 12, the Meghalaya High Court refused to quash the criminal proceedings against journalist Patricia Mukhim for her four-month-old Facebook post condemning the attack on five non-tribal youth by a gang of masked men, allegedly tribals, in Meghalaya’s Lawsohtun village.

In the post, written days after the incident, Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times, had criticised the Lawsohtun village council for failing to identify the perpetrators.

“This continued attack on non-tribals in Meghalaya, whose ancestors have lived here for decades, some having come here since the British period is reprehensible to say the least,” Mukhim had written. “The fact that such attackers and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested and if arrested never penalised according to law, suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed state for a long time now.”

Mukhim’s post drew the ire of the Lawsohtun village council which lodged a police complaint against her. Their objection: that Mukhim had allegedly given a communal colour to an isolated crime.

Acting on the complaint, the Meghalaya police registered a criminal case against Mukhim for promoting enmity between different groups. She was also charged with defamation, among other things.

Mukhim, for her part, moved the High Court, seeking relief. The post, she claimed was made in good faith, and her intention was only to...

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