No newspaper hit the stands and no local television channels in Manipur aired any news and programmes for the fourth day on Wednesday as editors and journalists continued to cease work to protest the attack on a leading newspaper’s office.
Meanwhile, Manipur State Human Rights Commission’s (MSHRC) Acting Chairperson Khaidem Mani on Wednesday asked the state government to submit a report on the matter by February 25. He has also requested media organisations to resume their publication and telecasts in the larger interests of the people.
A spokesman of the agitating organisations said that a joint meeting of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and the Editors Guild of Manipur (EGM) would be held on Thursday to decide their future course of action.
Editors and journalists began cease work since Sunday on a call given by the two organisations to protest the attack on the office of leading vernacular daily ‘Poknapham’ in the heart of Imphal.
A Chinese-made grenade was hurled at the office but fortunately it did not detonate. Police had said had it exploded, a large number of employees and visitors would have been killed or wounded.
The police have not yet made any headway in the ongoing probe, while no extremist outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Tuesday announced that the state government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the attack.
“It was a cowardly attack on the media. I strongly condemn the attack. The attackers would be arrested soon,” Singh said in the Assembly, as he requested the media organisations to resume work in the people’s interest. He also assured to provide security to the media offices.
There have been bomb attacks on some newspaper offices in Imphal in the past, triggering protracted protests from the media community. In some cases, editors and journalists went on strike for weeks.
A total of 32 newspapers, mostly vernacular, are published daily from Manipur and there are several cable based television channels.