Imphal, Feb. 14: All Imphal-based morning papers failed to hit the stands today after the newspaper establishments decided to suspend the day’s publication after “threats” from the Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak). The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and editors said the outfit asked the dailies to stop publication after the latter failed to publish a list of names of close associates and workers of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in yesterday’s publications.
Prepak in a statement accused Ibobi Singh of allegedly sponsoring “state terrorism” and the security forces and police of killing innocent people in “fake encounters”.
The outfit detailed the alleged “fake encounters” and warned that it would start targeting Ibobi Singh, his cabinet colleagues, Congress MLAs and the chief minister’s active workers. The statement mentioned a list of 143 names of active workers.
Though the daily papers yesterday published the statement, they did not carry the names of the workers. The outfit was not happy with the exclusion of the names and it allegedly asked the newspaper offices to close, AMWJU sources said.
The sources said police also pressurised editors not to publish the statement issued by the outfit after getting information that the outfit had issued the statement.
After suspending the day’s publication, an emergency meeting of journalists today decided to resume publication from tomorrow with an appeal to the outfit to withdraw the “ban” on newspapers. The meeting termed the “pressure” from the police and the outfit as “unfortunate”.
The Ibobi Singh cabinet directed director-general of police Yumnam Joykumar Singh to constitute a “special cell” to deal with militants.
An official source said the cabinet, which met last night, gave the directive after the Prepak issued the threat.
The Telegraph, Calcutta,