New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs Wednesday clarified that no region of Assam has been marked as a restricted or protected area, and foreign journalists can visit the state, provided they obtain a permit from the government.
The ministry posted the clarification on Twitter after a report in the Assam Tribune claimed that Assam had been given the protected status, and all foreign journalists were asked to immediately leave the state. The ministry said the piece of information was “misleading and incorrect”.
“Neither MHA nor MEA has given any information as mentioned. The responsibility of publication of such information, and consequences thereof, lie entirely with the media house concerned,” it tweeted.
“Any foreign journalist, whether already based in India or not, can visit Assam after taking permission of MEA… MHA is consulted internally by MEA before issuing this permission. There is no PAP or RAP area in the state of Assam. Thus no PAP or RAP is needed by a foreign journalist,” the ministry said in a subsequent tweet.
Any foreign journalist,whether already based in India or not, can visit Assam after taking permission of MEA
MHA is consulted internally by MEA before issuing this permission. There is no PAP or RAP area in the state of Assam. Thus no PAP or RAP is needed by a foreign journalist
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) September 4, 2019
PAP (Protected Area Permit) and RAP (Restricted Area Permit) are required by foreigners seeking to travel to protected and restricted areas in the country, which include Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. According to guidelines issued by the ministry, applicants are required to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Officer of the state/district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
According to the Assam Tribune report, a foreign journalist reporting in the state was escorted to the airport by the police and sent to Delhi. The journalist was reportedly told that she needed permission from the MEA to enter the state.
Assam is at the centre of media focus following the release of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list on 31 August. The exercise, meant to document Indian citizens in the state, resulted in around 19 lakh people being left out, effectively making them foreigners.
The exercise has been a source of uncertainty and anxiety for locals as the missing names include members from the same family who have been deemed Indian citizens.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.