Woman files 2nd FIR against EGI, seeks CBI probe
Woman files 2nd FIR against EGI, seeks CBI probe

Imphal (Agency): A woman in Manipur who filed the second police case against the Editors’ Guild of India (EGI) chief and three members of its fact-finding team has requested for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the case.

Imphal resident Sorokhaibam Thoudam Sangita had filed the first information report (FIR) against the EGI fact-finding team who went to Manipur for four days to look into the media’s reportage of the Meitei-Kuki ethnic conflict. Hers was the second FIR; the first was filed by another Imphal-based social worker N Sarat Singh.

The EGI in the report released on Saturday last said there are clear indications that the leadership of the state became partisan during the conflict. “It should have avoided taking sides in the ethnic conflict, but it failed to do its duty as a democratic government which should have represented the entire state,” the report said among its several observations in a concluding summary.

The EGI has condemned the state government’s move to file the FIR as an effort to intimidate journalists. The Supreme Court yesterday said no coercive action can be taken against the four accused till Monday.

Sangita, however, alleged the EGI is trying to divert the issue and escape from answering with evidence all the allegations the three-member team had made against the Meitei community, who are a majority in the valley areas of Manipur.

“This issue is very serious. The team was crowdfunded too. We want to know who all donated to them for the Manipur visit. The CBI should take this case and go into the root of the case,” Ms Sangita said.

“There was relative calm in Manipur, but after the report that used words like ‘Meitei police’ and ‘Meitei media’ came out, the atmosphere has become tensed following the ethnic clash with Kukis. This report led to fresh enmity between the two communities and there has been fresh trouble in the past few days,” she alleged. “The EGI may try to pressure us to cancel the case. I don’t want that to happen. I beg the government to request for a CBI probe into the entire case,” Sangita said.

The EGI report alleged the Manipur government branded all Kuki tribes as “illegal immigrants” after some 4,000 refugees fleeing the military coup in neighbouring Myanmar crossed into Manipur. The EGI in the report faulted the state government for taking a series of steps that led to resentment among the Chin-Kukis to build up.

“The state government seems to have facilitated the majority’s anger against the Kukis through several seemingly partisan statements and policy measures,” the report said.

The All Manipur Working Journalists Union, and the Editors’ Guild of Manipur said they have taken strong exception to the “half-baked so-called fact-finding report, which was completed in merely four days.” “The report has many contentions and wrong representations which are damaging to the reputation of the journalist community in the state, especially Imphal-based news outlets,” the Manipur journalists’ collective and the Editors’ Guild of Manipur said in the statement.

The three journalists came to Manipur on a crowdfunded visit to prepare the report. The EGI on July 26 posted on X, asking for donation to fund “a fact-finding mission to document media’s coverage of the Manipur ethnic clashes.” (Courtesy: NDTV)