Mokokchung, 10 September (MTNews): On Monday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider a plea submitted by the Editors Guild of India, which seeks protection from coercive measures in response to two FIRs filed in Manipur against certain EGI members.
In a favorable development for four members of the Editors Guild of India (EGI), the Supreme Court issued a directive on 6 September. This directive instructed the Manipur Police not to take any coercive actions against these individuals until 11 September. The FIRs in question pertain to various offenses, including the alleged promotion of enmity between two communities.
According to the news agency PTI, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had stated on 4 September that a police case had been filed based on a complaint against the president and three members of the Editors Guild of India, accusing them of attempting to “provoke clashes” in the state. A second FIR was also registered against the four Guild members, with an additional charge of defamation.
The initial complaint against the EGI president and its three members was filed by Ngangom Sarat Singh, a retired engineer who had worked for the state government, as reported by PTI. The second FIR was lodged by Sorokhaibam Thoudam Sangita of Khurai in Imphal East district.
In addition to EGI president Seema Mustafa, those who have been booked include senior journalists Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan, and Sanjay Kapoor. They visited the state between 7 and 10 August to study media reportage on the ethnic violence.
The Editors Guild, in a report published on 2 September, criticized the internet ban in the state as detrimental to media reportage, slammed what it termed as one-sided reporting by some media outlets, and claimed that there were indications that the state leadership had “turned partisan” during the conflict.
The Editors’ Guild members were booked under various sections of the IPC, including 153A (promoting enmity between two communities), 200 (using false declaration as true), 298 (deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), and under provisions of the Information Technology Act and Press Council Act. The second FIR, in addition to these charges, also includes Section 499 (defamation) of IPC.
The Manipur government had earlier filed an FIR against a three-member fact-finding team of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) for a report on the ethnic conflict.