After one day's distribution of local newspapers on Thursday, the paper boys have refused to deliver copies of newspapers at homes; and the distributing agents to townships and other districts from Friday following fresh threat from an underground organisation.
The outfit had banned sale and distribution of the newspapers in retaliation to the refusal by the editors to publish its press releases. For six days the distributors and paper boys, who were also threatened with killings, refrained from duty.
On Thursday, the paper boys had delivered the copies, after a sit-in protest by the scribes, a silent procession and meeting with the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Monday. Besides representatives of several NGOs and women's organisations staged a sit-in protest urging the militants not to interfere with the publication and distribution of the newspapers. The militants had given death sentence in absentia to all the editors and reporters for refusing to publish the press releases of the outfit.
On Thursday the outfit informed the representatives of the All Manipur Newspapers Sale and Distributors Association to come to Sekta, a remote town for some "talks". The insurgents told them that the ban has not been lifted. The way the paper boys had distributed newspaper copies amounts to throwing gauntlet to them, the outfit warned.
The All Manipur Working Journalists' Union, Editors' Committee and the All Manipur Newspaper Sale and Distributors Association held an emergency meeting at the press club on Thursday night to discuss the fresh threat. After a protracted discussion it was decided that the paper boys shall not distribute newspaper copies for their own safety till an agreement is reached.
However, the editors and reporters reaffirmed their stand to spike the press release since it has been a policy not to entertain press releases of new outfits or factions of underground organisations. They also decided to publish their newspapers as usual and readers are free to buy their copies from the newspaper offices. All newspapers blanked out this development in the threat perception in Friday's edition of newspapers.
Meanwhile the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union has thanked the Press Council of India, Indian Journalists Union, International Federation of Journalists, NE Federation of Journalists, Journalists Forum Assam and others which had extended support and solidarity with the journalists in Manipur at this juncture.