|Journalists protest in Imphal on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Imphal, Sept. 3: Militants have not withdrawn their threat to attack editors, reporters and newspaper distributors yet, the president of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union, Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, said today.
All Imphal-based papers suspended publication today after journalists went on a ceasework to protest against a threat issued by a “militant group”.
The group threatened to attack journalists and newspaper hawkers after Imphal-based papers decided not to carry a statement issued by the group, that claimed responsibility for an action.
Sources in the union and Editors’ Committee said the papers decided not to carry the statement as they had doubts about the “genuineness of the group’s existence”.
The sources said editors, office-bearers of the union and hawkers were threatened over phone.
The journalists’ union and the Editors’ Committee did not reveal the name of the organisation or the details of the statement as publishing these would amount to publishing its statement.
Journalists and newspaper distributors yesterday took to the streets to highlight the threat they are facing and met chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh to apprise him of the situation and seek a secure environment.
The chief minister’s assurance to track down those making threat calls, however, has failed to allay fears.
Journalists and distributors today staged a joint sit-in at Keishampat junction here.
“The threats over telephone are still being made. The group has not withdrawn its threat despite our repeated appeals. We are holding the sit-in to renew our appeal to withdraw the threat,” the union’s president said.
As journalists spent the day staging a sit-in, there will be no morning publication tomorrow. Publications will resume on Thursday.
The Ibobi Singh government has provided armed police for Manipur Press Club where journalists regularly gather. Media offices are also likely to be provided armed police personnel.
Sources in the police said the places from where the threat calls are being made have been traced and they are trying to track down the callers. The police, however, declined to name the places.
“We are working hard to find them. Now everything cannot be disclosed,” a senior police officer said.
The Indian Journalists’ Union has expressed concern over the threat and has appealed to the group to withdraw it.