The scuffle that took place at the Press Club is unacceptable. A representative of a women organisation was paraded in front of the media at the premises of the Press Club. She was attacked with verbal abuses and manhandled by another group of women. The ugly incident has not only made a mockery of the place, but has diseased the hub center of the media. Office of the All Manipur Working Journalist Union functions from this premise. This is a building where journalists from different media houses gather as a family under a single roof. It has become a standard choice of any organisation or individual to hold Press briefings in this particular location. This practice is well accepted by the media for it streamlines the task of collecting news. It does not mean that the media is content nestling in their comfort zone. The media’s bounded duty to report news from any given place regardless of the adversities that media person might encounter. But considering the peculiarity of detriments that the media shares equally with the public while operating in a conflict area, a place like the Press Club provides a common space where the media and the social agents intersect to perform its specific functions. The incident that of a functionary of Young Women Help Organisation facing the wrath for her alleged meddling in sensitive case unfolded at the very premises of the Press Club to such an extent that the police had to intervene to control the skirmish. Let it be known to one and all that the Press Club is not a boxing ring or an arena where spectacle can be willfully displayed in the hope that the media will report it anyway.
We do not however mean to belittle the grievances that the aggrieved group of women have with the particular ‘Women Help Group’. For that matter, organisations or groups of this kind have been mushrooming in the state. Most of the time they function like Kangaroo Courts in the name of giving justice to women, who according to the moral yardstick of these organisations have been victims of immoral aggressions. These groups handle myriad of cases. In a way, they have become self styled laws unto themselves. The very definition of what is moral or immoral is relatively a different issue altogether and varies from one culture to another. Moreover, its contours keep changing with the passage of time and social values which are in a constant flux. What is acceptable to one culture can be totally unacceptable to another. We shall take up the debate of morality at some other point of time. What needs to be pointed out is the spurt of activities that have been carried out by various groups like the ‘Women Help Group’ in the name of delivering justice. What is saddening is the passive withdrawal of the state and its machinery to check the growth of crimes that demand immediate response. The government cannot sit back and watch the social groups jumping the gun and taking the law into their hands, and at the cost of dislocating the limbs of our society. What is a Law, and who safeguards the law should not be put into a quandary.