Manipur scribes protest police assault on colleagues

Imphal : More than 100 journalists in Manipur Tuesday surrendered their accreditation cards issued by the government to protest the alleged assault on two of their colleagues by police.

“Carrying a press identity card in Manipur could invite trouble as security forces simply do not respect the profession and threaten to kill journalists. So, we decided to surrender our cards issued by the government,” Arun Singh, editor of the mass circulation language daily Ireibak, told IANS.

In all, about 130 journalists surrendered their accreditation cards to the director of information and public relations in the state capital Imphal.

The decision by the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) to surrender their press cards follows the alleged assault by police on two local journalists Oct 10.

“The two journalists were returning home from duty on the night of Oct 10 when police commandos caught them and physically assaulted the duo. They also threatened to shoot them and accused the two of having links with militants,” said Pradip Phanjoubam, editor of Imphal Free Press, an English daily.

“The two journalists showed their Identity Cards, but the security personnel simply refused to accept their version.”

The AMWJU has already enforced a ban on publishing any government-related news in their respective newspapers and local TV channels, accusing the government of trying to muzzle the freedom of the press.

Members of the AMWJU also called on Governor Gurbhachan Jagat and discussed the issue of alleged harassment of journalists by security forces.

The governor assured to discuss the matter with Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

The AMWJU also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, apprising him of the assault on two journalists and the alleged inaction of the state government on the issue.

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