FIR filed against Editors Guild members for 'trying to create more clashes' in Manipur: CM

The Editors Guild recently claimed that the media's reports on the ethnic violence in Manipur were one-sided and accused the state leadership of being partisan.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. (Photo | PTI)
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. (Photo | PTI)

IMPHAL:  Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday said that his government has filed an FIR against the president and three members of the Editors Guild of India, and accused them of trying to create more clashes in the state which is rocked by ethnic strifes for nearly four months.

The FIR was filed for publishing an alleged factually incorrect report on the ethnic violence in the state.

The Manipur Police registered a case based on a complaint received from Ngangom Sarat, a “social worker”.

The police invoked IPC sections 153A, 200, 295, 298, 500, 505(1)(b), 505(2) and 120B, relating to promoting enmity, defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class, uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person, public mischief etc.

The FIR, lodged with Imphal Police Station, named Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor -- members of a fact-finding team -- and the EGI president.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh told journalists on Monday that the state government filed the FIR against the EGI members “for trying to create more clashes in Manipur”.

“Who constituted this fact-finding team? They were not authorised to constitute a fact-finding team and investigate Manipur issues. It is a self-styled (team) which has nothing to do with the present crisis in Manipur,” Singh said.

“…if you want to do something, please come to the spot and see the ground reality by meeting the representatives of all communities and victims and then, you publish whatever you found,” he said.

Sarat described the report as “false, fabricated and sponsored”.

“After a brief reading of the report, it is found that a picture…has been shown under the caption ‘smoke rises from a Kuki house on 5 May’. But the fact is, the said photo is of the office of the forest beat officer in Churachandpur,” he had written in his complaint.

The EGI has already regretted the error in the photo caption.

“There was an error in a photo caption in the report released on Sep 2. The same is being rectified and an updated report will be uploaded on the link shortly. We regret the error that crept in at the photo editing stage,” the EGI had written on X, previously Twitter, on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) condemned the filing of the FIR against the EGI team, stating it “showed the government’s intolerance towards anyone who disagrees with its narrative”.

“The three-member team from EGI, with more than 60 years of journalism experience among them, took the risk of coming to a conflict zone after receiving multiple representations about the partisan role of the media,” the tribal organisation said.

“No journalist or representative from the Meitei or tribal community followed them in their fact-finding mission. No one influenced their judgment,” it added.

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The New Indian Express