Manipur went without newspapers on Wednesday, as journalists extended support to the All Manipur Newspaper Sellers and Distributors Association (AMNSDA), which launched a strike protesting against the beating and looting of a distributor on July 27 night by armed persons, suspected to be policemen.

President of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union, A. Mobi, told The Hindu that police had informed the journalists that the culprits would be arrested in “a day or two.”

Home Minister G. Gaikhangam also assured Mr. Mobi that if any policeman was involved, drastic action would be taken.

Nongmaithem Ranabir was returning home after collecting Rs. 15,550 from his sub-agents, when he was accosted by the armed persons.

They snatched the money and his mobile phone, and accused him of being an insurgent.

They wanted to know where he had extorted the money from. Although he had produced his identity card showing he is a member of the AMNSDA, they refused to believe him, and beat him up with gun butts. Before letting him go, they took away his two-wheeler.

In the past too, some distributors have been beaten up, and robbed of their cash and valuables.

Some journalists have been subjected to beatings and humiliation while returning home from duty late in the night.

The distributors have warned they would intensify the agitation if the culprits weren’t booked.