Bandh effect: Cop apologizes for deleting scribe`s photo

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IMPHAL, April 7: Following the imposition of an indefinite Manipur bandh in regard to the murder of N Satyabhama, the JAC has been taking up various measures to enforce the secomnd day of the bandh at Imphal area today.

A Bolero jeep mounted with a loudspeaker along with a car went about and appealed to shops to close down. The drive originated from Kakwa area and later passed through Tiddim road and Paona Bazar. The team later parked under the flyover near Ima Keithel and appealed for the market to close down to show solidarity for the cause of demanding swift justice. As per its duty, many journalists also followed the JAC team to record the day`s events.

Later, as the market started to close down, a police team came to the spot and asked for the DC permit from the JAC team which consisted of nearly 20 members who were mostly female. The permit could not be produced and the team was escorted to the city police station located at Thangal bazar at MG Avenue.

The journalist team also followed the police and later went inside the police station. As the JAC team was herded inside on the charge of disturbing the law, one SI ordered sepoys to haul down the PA system from the Bolero. As the scene was being captured on camera by K Meghjit of Naharolgei Thaodang, one SI namely Tolminthang Khongsai snatched the camera and deleted the photos on the grounds that pictures cannot be taken inside the police station.

The scribes later informed the All Manipur Working Journalists Union president, A Mobi Singh and other members about the high handedness of the police personnel. The matter was intimated to other concerned high ranking officials of the police also.

Subsequently, an officer arrived at the police station and took stock of the situation and a meeting was held inside the police station. The OC of City police , Rk Tejbir also arrived later and claimed that photos cannot be taken inside the police compound. The journalists on their part retorted that the police must  sensitize the media of  particular regulations in the matter and to be informed on by whom, the order was issued. The particular `ban` was not available in a notification and the officer also owned up that there was  indeed no formal order.

It may be mentioned that the rules and regulations of media coverage is legitimized under Article 19 of the Indian constitution and there is no rule stating that scribes cannot take photos of events which occur within a police station as long as it constitutes news. It has been witnessed that the State police also holds press conferences and highlights their various achievements inside the station only and thus reported in the news. The matter was also sensitized to the city OC by the scribes.

Later, after a due apology tendered by the erring sub-inspector, Tolminthang Khongsai to the scribes, the matter was ended amicably. It may also be mentioned that the arrested JAC members were released by orders from ‘higher ups’.

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