IMPHAL, December 23: A reporter was slain in the line of duty at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai near Cheiraoching Diary Farm today. He was covering an incident which involved protestors burning a truck belonging to Lamphel Police Station and carrying women and children at the mentioned site at around 12.30 pm.
According to videographic evidence which was shot by the deceased scribe, Thangjam Dwijamani, alias Nanao, 32, a resident of Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai S/o Th Babu Singh and a correspondent of Prime News channel and a DDK news stringer. He was covering the arson incident at the said spot. The protestors halted the said vehicle and attacked it by pelting stones. After the driver and passengers scampered for safety, the vehicle was set alight by the agitators. As the police fired on the arsonist, a bullet struck Dwijamani who was capturing the scene on camera from a safe location. He received a bullet injury on the right chest.
As Dwijamani fell down on the spot, he was picked up by some of the persons and policeman present there and transported him to RIMS Hospital. After giving immediate medical attention, he succumbed to his injury at around 1.30 pm. Enraged scribes thronged to the site along with family members of the deceased scribe.
In the meantime, the nearby housed were raided by police commandos inclusive of three sub inspectors and DSP Ibomcha. When questioned by scribes which police team came to the spot first to control the situation, it was replied that it was not clear who came to the spot first, the DSP mentioned.
As news of the incident spread, scribes thronged the RIMS campus including AMWJU President, A Mobi. MLA of Thangmeiband Th Joykishan also arrived at the scene and later the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi and Deputy CM Gaikhangam also arrived at the hospital.
In the meantime, the camera held by Dwijamani was taken from the possession of one of his relatives. It was found that the tape was missing and learnt that the police had arrested the individual who was carrying the videocamera.
A team of scribes along with concerned police personnel went to Lamphel police station and inquired about the tape to the arrested person. It was learnt that the tape was seized by the police along with other items including mobile phones from the arrested protestors. The tape was confiscated by the scribe team.
The matter was deliberated at the Manipur Press Club at an emergency general body meeting. The video footage which was shot by the late scribe was shown to the gathering and it was evident that the bullet which stuck him was fired by the police with an intention to target and not as a warning shot.
Later, the scribes after condemning the incident came to a resolve and took out a protest from the Press Club, Majorkhul towards the CM Bungalow. The scribes were halted near GM Hall by police officials. After a negotiation was brought, the scribes were allowed to approach the Bungalow and later meet the CM. The matter was deliberated with the CM in the presence of the scribes and other top officials of the state administration.
The chief minister and the media fraternity signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which a three-member team to investigate into the killing of the journalist is one of the agreement.
Another point of the MoU is to extend help from the government side to the late journalist`s family who was the father of two children.
The third point is to frame a policy for the media persons while working in this type of tense situation.
Meanwhile, the investigation team should complete its report within a week`s time. If need be, the period of investigation will be extended.
AMWJU president A Mobi, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) L Khaute and Principal Secretary, Home Department Mr Suresh Babu are the members of the investigation team.