IMPHAL, Dec 30: All Manipur Working Journalists` Union (AMWJU) has strongly condemned the arrest of the editor of Sanaliebak Daily, A. Mobi who is also the vice-president cum spokesperson of AMWJU yesterday by Manipur Police Commandos who came in the guise of KCP to deliver money.
The AMWJU has also decided to boycott coverage of functions attended by ministers and ruling MLAs as well as achievements of the state Police.
A release of AMWJU said that decrying the arrest of A. Mobi by police commandos, the working journalists of the state under the aegis of AMWJU held an emergency general body meeting yesterday. The meeting condemned the statement of SSP Imphal West which said that the editor of Sanaleibak Daily was arrested as an activist of KCP (Tabungba Group) and the police recovered two mobile phones, one scooter without registration number and Rs 50,000 in cash. It also unanimously decided to term the charges labeled against Mobi by police as baseless and framed as a conspiracy.
Mobi was arrested by police commandos in the guise of KCP yesterday at around 9:30 am while he was at his office.
The AMWJU has entrusted Mobi the task of negotiating with UG groups for making press/media a free zone after the state security force as well as the governemnt have failed to safeguard the working journalists of the state amidst threats and intimidations from different angles.
As a part of the task assigned to him, one Tabungba group of KCP contacted him to have talks outside the state. Such talks are not permitted to be held in open under the purview of the law and so they are to be carried out by maintaining utmost secrecy.
The AMWJU intimated the KCP group that it would not be able to bear the travel expenses. The KCP group informed that they will deliver Rs 50,000 to him for the travel expenses and so Mobi was waiting at his office to receive the said amount.
There has been an instance where a commando personnel came to deliver a message of KCP. When he expressed his suspicion the KCP group informed that he was working for KCP even though he was a commando. Mobi had even informed this to his colleagues some days back.
Amidst such suspicious instances, the KCP group informed Mobi on his mobile phone yesterday that two persons had been sent to deliver money to his office. The men would come in a rickshaw and he should receive it from the ground floor of his office.
On seeing two youths coming in a rickshaw, Mobi enquired the caller if they were the men who had to deliver the money. The caller confirmed them and Mobi went near them.
Suddenly one of them whipped out a pistol from his pocket saying “Your Rs 50,000 is here”. He then had a confrontation with the youths considering them to be UGs.
However, they identified themselves to be commando personnel by showing their ID cards. At that time a phone call came from the KCP group asking him if he had received the money. The commandos forcilbly made him answer positively to the caller.
There is a big confusion in the whole matter as to how the commandos came to deliver money for KCP and how the KCP identified the commandos in the rickshaw as their men.
The AMWJU has decided to fight for justice and condemned the false charges of police saying that Mobi is an activist of KCP (Tabung Group).
When a team of journalists met Mobi he had stated in front of Addl. SP Ak Jhaljit that the amount of Rs 50,000 as mentioned in the statement of police was not recovered from him. He had only Rs 2000 in cash which was taken away by the commandos.
The AMWJU has also decided to launch stern agitations until and unless Mobi is released without any condition.
Meanwhile, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) has submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohon Singh in connection with arrest of the spokesperson and vice president of union Ahongsangbam Mobi Singh, by Manipur police.
The memorandum of AMWJU mentioned that, the extreme injustice meted out by the Manipur Police on A Mobi Singh, a senior journalist by arresting him on fabricated charges of being member of banned armed organization KCP (Tabungba).
The memorandum further recalled that, on the evening of December 28 last, a person claiming to be a member of the said banned organization called A Mobi Singh (in his capacity as the spokesperson) and asked to meet with three members of the AMWJU to discuss some matters connected to publication of their statements. When the location of the meeting was mentioned as New Delhi,AMWJU spokesperson said we had no fund for such travels. The outfit offered to foot the bill and said would send the required fund. However, next morning two Manipur Police commandos in civil dresses came to his office at Sega Road in a rickshaw and asked him to collect money. When he came near the duo he was manhandled and taken to custody. He tried to fight them off thinking them to be insurgents but later they indentified themselves as police commandos. They effected seizure of Rs.50,000 brought with them but never handed to Mobi, along with Rs.2000 from his personal purse. He was, later charged of being member of the outfit and a case registered.
The memorandum further mentioned that, the AMWJU is keen to resolve several issues regarding pressure by UG groups to publish their propaganda and we agreed on a broad policy to talk to them at any opportunity and make them understand the need for a free press in a democratic set up. Under this policy, AMWJU authorize A Mobi Singh, who as spokesperson to communicate with the different organization including banned ones to convince them from forcing the media from publishing unwanted propaganda materials.
It is also further mentioned that, the AMWJU have been constraint to take this negotiating stance following the failure of the state government to provide us to a free and secure environment. Because of our refusal to published certain items, a group had brazenly walked into the office of the Sangai Express in the year 2008, and placed a bomb. This was despite the police having been informed of the eminent threat. This was preceded by holding hostages of six editors by a particular group of KCP and forcing the entire Imphal based media to carry a particular statement of the group much against the wishes of the media. In both the cases the state government has so far failed to take any recognizable act till date. A particular group of KCP had also on one occasion walked into the office of A Mobi’s press and ransacked it. The matter had been informed to the police but so far no arrest or visible action has been taken.
AMWJU memorandum further mentioned that, it is believe the media in Manipur is being targeted by the state police for its apparent role in exposing the alleged fake encounter at BT Road on July 23, 2009, which is under CBI investigation and involved several police officers and the recent memorandum to the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram, urging him to take action on murder of one Journalist of Imphal Free Press Rishikanta and threats on the media from the government as well as the underground outfit. Under this circumstances, the AMWJU urged the PM to intervene at the earliest and ensure unconditional release of A Mobi Singh from Manipur police custody and also direct the Manipur government to ensure a free secure environment for media in Manipur.
The vice president of the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) Ahongsangbam Mobi Singh, 55, also an editor of local vernicular ‘Sanaleibak’ who was arrested by the Manipur police commandos near Tiddim Service Station Sega Road on alleged charged of being a member of banned outfit organization KCP (Tabingba) yesterday was taken remand of seven days to the police custody after he was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West yesterday afternoon.
In the meantime, SDPO, N Madhunimai Singh, MPS who is the Investigating Officer (IO) in connection with the arrest of A Mobi Singh, in his official prayer to Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West for remanding A Mobi Singh into police custody for further interrogation yesterday mentioned that at about 2pm yesterday SI Ng Robash Singh of Imphal West district police commandos reported that, he received information from a victim (owner of a gas agency) of extortion that KCP (Tabungba group) has demanded from him a sum of Rs 5 lakhs and threatened him of dire consequences in the vent of the failure to do so through mobile phone numbers 09577047761 and 0801434892. The caller identified himself as Ningamba of the banned KCP (Tabungba group).
The official prayer of the IO further mentioned that Negotiation for regarding the demand amount was going on for some times and ultimately came down to Rs.50,000. The caller then asked the victim to bring the negotiated amount in front of Tiddim Service Station at Sega Road, Imphal, where he will send his men to collect the amount. Details on the appearance/description of the man, collector was informed to the victim during a mobile phone conference.
It is also mentioned that, the matter came into the knowledge of the police who swung into action. The collector/man on LML, NV scooter green in colour of KCP (Tabungba group) was caught red handed by the said SI team in front of the Tiddim Service Station, Sega Road at about 9.30am, yesterday and later on verification, the arrested person identified himself as Ahongsangbam Mobi Singh, 55, son of late A Loken Singh of Thongju Pechu Lampak, now working as editor of the Manipuri local daily ‘Sanaleibak’ and vice president of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU). Two mobile phones (Nokia brand) bearing Nos. 8974001952 and 8014131496, the LML scooter and Rs.50,000 in cash have been seized from his possession and handed over to OC IPS for further necessary action.
The prayer of the SDPO Imphal West to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal further mentioned that, during the course of investigation examined the complaint, who fully corroborated with the official evidence re-seized the seized articles in presence of witnessed. Examined the seizure witnesses and they supported the fact of the case. Interrogated the A Mobi Singh and in that he admitted to have committed the crime and Imphal West police has taken up a case under FIR No. 575 (12)10 IPS u/s. 17/20 UA(P)A Act. the official prayers to the court mentioned.