IMPHAL, Jan1 � Manipur scribes continued with their demonstration here on New Year�s Day today demanding immediate �unconditional release� of the editor of a local vernacular daily.
The state went without newspapers on New Year�s Day as editors and journalists continued with their �indefinite ceasework strike� from Friday in protest against the arrest of Ahongsangbam Mobi (55), editor of Sanaleibak, from Keishampat in Imphal on Wednesday morning. Information Service Television (ISTV), popular local TV news channel also suspended their news programme.
The Superintendent of Police of Imphal West district on Wednesday alleged that Mobi was an activist of the banned outfit Kangleipak Communist Party (Tabungba group). Police registered a case at Imphal Police Station under Section 17/20 UA(P) A Act and claimed to have seized two mobile phones, a scooter and Rs 50,000 in cash from his possession.
However the All Manipur Working Journalists� Union (AMWJU), an apex body of journalist community in Manipur has rejected the allegation levelled by the police.
AMWJU members, demanding �unconditional release� of the editor, also launched a sit-in demonstration in front of Manipur Press Club here as part of the indefinite ceasework strike from Friday morning.
A ten-member AMWJU team led by its president Khogendra Khomdram met Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and apprised him of the matter, besides submitting a memorandum on Thursday evening. However the Chief Minister is yet to react to the demand.
Terming the police charges as �extreme injustice�, the memorandum said the charges were �fabricated�. It also informed that editor Mobi being the vice-president and spokesman of the union, was authorised to settle a number of disputes between media and militants in Manipur following the government�s failure to provide a secure environment to mediapersons in the state.
From early nineties, six journalists were shot dead in Manipur. Many others were subjected to mental and physical torture.
Manipur�s daily newspapers numbering around 12 had also failed to hit the stands on October 18 and 27 last to protest militant diktats on what to print and what not to.