Two Manipur journalists booked under UAPA for article against state’s armed groups

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Police in Manipur have arrested two Imphal-based journalists and charged them under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with the publication of an article, EastMojo reported.

According to the report, Sadokpam Dhiren, editor-in-chief of the Frontier Manipur, and Paojel Chaoba, the executive editor, have been charged under IPC sections 120B (Criminal Conspiracy), 505 (b) (causing alarm to induce offence against the state) and 34 (common intention) along with UAPA’s Section 39 (supporting terror organisation).

According to the police, an article titled ‘Revolutionary journey in a mess’ by M Joy Luwang was published on the online portal on 8 January, 2021. The article, according to police, is a critical indictment of many armed groups in the state.

Along with the two senior journalists, the police also filed an FIR filed against the author. The Police claimed that the article openly endorsed revolutionary ideologies and activities, and expressed shock and dismay at the deteriorating character of the armed revolutionaries in Manipur in the last decade.

Police also alleged that the article clearly expressed sympathy and support for the ideologies and activities of armed revolutionary groups and outrightly called the ‘Rule of Law’ of the Union and state government as ‘Colonial Law’.

The article is an attempt to bring hatred, contempt and feeling of enmity against the Rule of Law and the government which is likely to cause fear or alarm to the public inducting them to commit an offence against the state, posing serious threats of internal security issues, claimed the police in the FIR.

Paochel Chaoba’s wife, A Sanahanbi Devi, submitted a letter to the president of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) apprising the union of his detention and urged it to do the needful.

Sources in AMWJU said their executives would meet on Monday to discuss the issue.

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