IMPHAL, February 20: The errant Havildar of 1st India Reserve Battalion (IRB), who assaulted a senior journalist of the Imphal Free Press (IFP), was granted bail today by the court.
The accused Md Majibur Rahman was produced today at the Uripok Cheirap Court 11 this morning after being arrested from his battalion headquarter situated at Churachandpur yesterday.
Appearing before the court the police pleaded the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), RK. Memcha Devi, to remand Majibur Rahman to judicial custody for 15 days.
However, amidst this Rahman’s counsel submitted a prayer seeking bail on behalf of the accused pointing out that the IPC section (325/506/34) filed against the accused was bailable.
Having heard from both the counsels the court granted bail to the accused, after furnishing surety bond of rupees 10 thousand.
It may be recalled that IFP’s senior journalist A Dhananjoy Sharma alias Paojel Chaoba, was assaulted humiliated and brutally assaulted on the of night February 10, near the Northern gate of Kangla by personnel of the 1st IRB (Whisky 8) for not complying with their diktat.
The IR personnel also threatened to shot the scribe if he made the incident public.
Following the assault, the president of the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU), W Shyamjai, lodged a formal complaint with the Imphal Police Station on February 11. However, the police station concerned taken up the case on February 12.
In today’s court appearance, many senior journalists who were present at the court complex expressed its disappointment on the outcome especially the legal procedure taken up by the police.
The journalists were taken by surprised for the police directly seeking judicial custody before even demanding police remand for preliminary investigation or trial.
It is worth noting that this is the first ever legal battle between scribe and police department in the history of Manipur.
Not only the complaint was formally registered late the accused was formally arrested only yesterday (February 20). Since the day the complaint was lodged that on February 12 the asserted was made after a long gap of six days.
In between, with police taking no visible action a team of AMWJU led by its president W Shyamjai, met the Home Minister, Gaikhangam, on February 17, mounting pressure on him to initiate a legal procedure.
The journalists’ team visited Giakhangam following a potential threat to Chaoba on the night of February 16 wherein some miscreants fired two rounds of shot in front of his residential gate.