The Manipur Police on Friday arrested Dhanabir Maibam, the editor of the Meitei language newspaper Hueiyen Lanpao, on charges of promoting enmity between the communities of the state.
Manipur has been gripped by ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities since early May. Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out and nearly 67,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.
Maibam has been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 505 (publishing report containing rumour or alarming news), 120 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, Imphal West Superintendent of Police Shivakanta Singh told Scroll.
The journalist was arrested following reportage by his newspaper about the deterioration in the law and order situation in border town of Moreh in Tengnoupal district in October, The Times of India reported.
The arrest of Maibam came a week after the Manipur Police arrested another journalist Wangkhemcha Shyamjai for allegedly promoting enmity between communities in the state. Shyamjai, the editor of the newspaper Kangleipakki Meira, was booked on the basis of a complaint by state Bharatiya Janata Party Vice President Laishram Meenabanta Singh.
On Friday, the arrest of Maibam was criticised by Congress’ Manipur chief Keisham Meghachandra, who demanded that the journalist be released immediately.
“There is no freedom of speech for journalists in Manipur,” Meghachandra said in a social media post. “This is a repeated action of police to harass journalists and media persons.”
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