Two Manipur journalists held for article, released after admitting to oversight
- The police claimed that the article openly endorsed revolutionary ideologies and activities.
Two journalists of a local news portal who were detained under sedition charges for carrying an article in their website on Sunday, were released on Monday after they admitted that oversight led to its publishing, police said.
Dhiren Sadokpam, editor-in-chief of the Frontier Manipur, an online news portal and its executive editor A Dhananjoy Sharma also known as Paojel Chaoba, were 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 one M Joy Luwang was carried in the online news portal on January 8, 2021.
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.
The police had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the author and two journalists.
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, the police said in the FIR registered at Singjamei Police Station in Imphal West District.
When contacted on phone, Imphal West District superintendent of police (SP) K Meghachandra claimed the journalists apologised and said that there was no bad intention in carrying the article (in the website). “Even though the serious charges were dropped, the case is still alive and the investigation is going on,” the SP said.
Ahead of his release, Paojel Chaoba in a letter of undertaking to the SP said that the article’s source was “unverified” and uploaded the article on the website as an “oversight.”
Earlier in the day, a joint team of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union and Editors Guild Manipur met chief minister N Biren Singh, a former editor who once headed the scribes’ body in the state and urged him to release the two journalists.
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