The confrontation between the scribes and one armed group in Manipur has become more alarming as both sides have hardened their stands while police apprehend bloodshed. The group had imposed a ban on the publication and distribution of newspapers as a punishment for spiking its press releases.
In the last one week, the newspapers could not be published for two days, the scribes took out a silent procession and staged a sit-in protest. The paper boys have been refusing to deliver the copies to offices and homes. On Thursday, they had delivered assuming that the insurgents had backed out following the protests from the scribes, paper boys and members of public. But on Friday, some of the paper boys were warned of dire consequences. In Friday's meeting held at press club in Imphal they announced that they will not deliver copies till a settlement is reached.
The Editors' Committee hardened their stand saying that the newspapers will not be published. This was supported by the publishers and the management. However, the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union is all for a negotiated settlement with the particular militant group.
Some of the editors and reporters were told over the phones that even their family members would be targeted for throwing the gauntlet. Meanwhile, the government is staying at a safe distance. No crackdown has been launched against the militants.