Cong deplores ‘arrest’ of two editors in Manipur, demands their immediate release

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday strongly deplored the reported arrest of two editors of vernacular newspapers in Manipur and demanded their immediate release, alleging a “double engine assault” by the Modi government and the Manipur dispensation on the state.

In a statement, Congress’ media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said that in yet another crackdown on press freedom, two editors from two language newspapers have been arrested by the Manipur government.

On December 31, 2023, the BJP-controlled police arrested Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, the editor of vernacular daily Kangleipaki Meira, for allegedly publishing “provocative news”, Khera said.

In a joint statement, the All-Manipur Journalists’ Union, of which Shyamjai was a former chief, and the Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) condemned his arrest and demanded his immediate release, Khera pointed out.

“The Indian National Congress strongly deplores the arrest of the editors of reputable vernacular newspapers. We firmly believe that journalists should be allowed to pursue their professional duties without fear of intimidation, especially when reporting on matters of public interest,” Khera said.

“We firmly endorse the objections raised by All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) and Paomi Welfare Foundation,” he said in his statement.

The BJP government in Manipur has indulged in a string of assaults on freedom of press by arresting journalists, slapping grave charges and even confronting the Editors Guild of India (EGI) when they attempted to honestly report the true picture of the strife-ridden state, Khera alleged.

All this is being done to escape any accountability for the “callous mishandling” of the situation, by plunging the state into violence, chaos, and anarchy, he said.

“The double engine assault by an apathetic Modi government and discredited BJP state government on Manipur has resulted in the death of more than 200 people, injuring 1,100 people and displacing 67,000 people, in the past eight months,” Khera alleged.