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Scribes condemn paper burning

Two journalists' organisations in Manipur have denounced burning of copies of an Imphal-based vernacular daily in protest against calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "cattle thief" and interlocutor R.N. Ravi as a "mediator between a thief and an owner of the stolen cow".

By Khelen Thokchom in Imphal
  • Published 20.11.17
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Imphal: Two journalists' organisations in Manipur have denounced burning of copies of an Imphal-based vernacular daily in protest against calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "cattle thief" and interlocutor R.N. Ravi as a "mediator between a thief and an owner of the stolen cow".

The weekly column of the Poknapham called Vox populi also mentioned chief minister N. Biren Singh, saying he could "help in recovering the stolen cow". The column which appeared on Saturday is a political satire on the ongoing peace process between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M).

In protest against the write-up, BJP Yuva Morcha activists burnt copies of Saturday's edition of the paper at its office complex here in Nityaipat Chuthek.

They alleged that the write-up had defamed Modi and damaged the image of Biren Singh. This also breached the privilege of the leaders, they claimed.

"The media cannot write anything they want. There should be certain ethics. Calling the Prime Minister 'cattle thief' is a very serious matter which cannot be ignored. So we burnt copies of the daily to teach them a lesson," a BJP leader said.

Biren Singh is reported to be very concerned about calling Modi a "cattle thief".

In protest against burning of newspapers, the Editors Guild Manipur has decided to keep editorial columns of all papers blank in Monday's morning and evening editions.

"The burning of a paper is nothing but an attempt to gag and muzzle the mouth of the media. If there are any grievances against any newspaper, the aggrieved party can go to court, the Press Council of India or the journalists' bodies in Manipur. Such action is not expected of a party which is leading a government," the president of Editors Guild Manipur, A. Mobi, said.

Mobi said Saturday's action went against spirit of Biren Singh who always appealed to the people to approach the government before resorting to any agitation so that problems can be settled peacefully. He further said that the action is also against the stand of the government to eradicate mob culture.

The All Manipur Working Journalists' Union also condemned burning of newspapers. In a statement, the union's president Wangkhemcha Shamjai said the matter could have been resolved through the union. According to him, if the matter could not be settled at the journalists' union level, the aggrieved party can approach the proper court of law for seeking redressal of the grievances.