Guwahati: Media personnel staged protests here during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on being barred from covering his filing of nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha election.
Local and national media journalists, TV camerapersons and photographers were not allowed to enter the Assembly premises by authorities who said the PMO and Special Protection Group had debarred them from entering the premises.
The journalists alleged that Singh was shielded from taking questions on the reported dissidence in the state, Railgate and Coalgate, and prevented from talking to the scribes of Assam, which he called his home.
The media, they claimed, was being `gagged` by not being allowed to report on the prime minister filling his nomination papers as the representative of the people of Assam.
"It was not only the journalist fraternity which was insulted but also the people of Assam, whom he (the PM) has represented four times in Rajya Sabha," they said.
Following vociferous media protests for over three hours, several Assam ministers, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, APCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi came out to pacify them and said the Prime Minister was waiting in assembly premises to talk to them.
On the reporters` insistence that the Prime Minister should come out of the Assembly complex and talk to them, Singh came out and spoke to the media for around five minutes before leaving for the airport to return Delhi.