AR replies to Nagaland editors’ statement

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IMPHAL, November 17: The Assam Rifles had written the letter to the editors of five media houses of Nagaland on October 24, highlighting the fact that NSCN (K) has been notified as an Unlawful Association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and amplified some of the clauses of the Gazette Notification which have its own legal implications.

A copy of the MHA notification was enclosed with the letter, according to a press release of the IGAR (N).

Assam Rifles in no way have issued any “gag order” on the press.

The Editors were requested to publish articles of NSCN(K) in consonance with the Act quoted above, it said.

Publishing an “Extortion Notice” of a “Banned Organisation” against business establishments is akin to abetting the “Banned Organisation” in collection of funds which will be used to carry out subversive activities against the govt agencies and Security Forces, it said.

If Media Houses feel it is correct to issue them to public through their medium it’s their call, and answer the Press Council of India for violation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

The Media Houses are free to publish any article about the NSCN(K) organisation which would add to the Peace Process, air their opinion about the Security Forces and their conduct of operations. At no stage has the Media been asked to dilute their free reporting. The contents of the advisory making the Media Houses aware of the MHA Notification and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act are being deliberately misinterpreted.

The intent of the letter was to prevent contact of NSCN (K) with the public for conveying their “Extortion Demands” or “Extortion Threats” through a medium of mass communication, it said.

The sequence of events over the past couple of days appears to be a well-conceived plan by vested interests to use the press and muzzle the voice of the Assam Rifles, which is the only organisation having faced the full brunt of terrorist actions and achieved tangible results against a terrorist organisation, it said.

Even today, as in the past, the editors are free to publish any press release they receive from NSCN(K), however, it would not be possible for them to feign ignorance of the MHA notification declaring NSCN(K) a banned terrorist organisation and any consequent legal repercussions leading to it, it said.

It is their moral call to unleash “Extortion Demands” and “Self Proclaimed Killings/ Threats” of NSCN(K) to the Naga civil society from their esteemed Media Houses, it said.

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