Chaoba Aribam, a senior reporter of an English newspaper, The Imphal Free Press, was beaten up by one Indian Reserve Battalion personnel while he was returning home at 11:30 p.m. on Monday from office. He was hit several times on the forehead with a radio set by the IRB personnel, identified as Mujibur Rahman, said to be a relative of Abdul Nasir, a minister.
Mr. Aribam sustained bleeding injuries and he was rushed to the hospital where he was sutured at four places. He told reporters that the IRB personnel also threatened to shoot him down. The scribes are not happy about this unprovoked assault. The personnel seemed to have been irked by the way the reporter was commuting late in the night forgetting the fact that after duty he was returning home.
Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, president of the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union said that it is a very serious matter. He said that the AMWJU has already sent memoranda to the Press Council of India and the Indian Union of Journalists. He said that Mr. Aribam is a member of the standing committee of the AMWJU. As he is a senior reporter he has been associated with various media affairs in the state. The AMWJU is demanding drastic legal actions against the accused IRB personnel failing which the scribes in the state will be constrained to agitate. The AMWJU had already lodged a complaint with the Imphal police station. However the accused personnel is yet to be arrested. Sources said that feelers had been sent for an out of the court settlement.
In this insurgency afflicted state the jittery police, paramilitary and security personnel had manhandled the presspersons time and again. Press had to boycott many times official functions and press handouts of the police and army in protest against such excesses.