The Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup (Military Defence Force), the proscribed underground organisation, has served a death notice to seven editors here for their refusal to publish its press releases and describing it as a ‘little known new outfit.’
There was an emergency meeting of the editors at the Manipur Press Club on Monday after the death threat was made.
Talking to The Hindu, president of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) A. Mobi said the joint meeting of the AMWJU and the Editors Forum Manipur did not entertain the allegations levelled by the outfit and strongly condemned the death threat.
It appealed to the KYKL (MDF) to withdraw its threat since it amounted to an infringement on the freedom of the press.
Later, the representatives of the editors and the journalists met Manipur Home Minister G. Gaikhangam. Mr. Gaikhangam said efforts to intimidate the press should be condemned by all. He also said security measures would be beefed up in the areas where printing presses were located. As in the recent past, armed police personnel would be deployed if the threat was not withdrawn, he said.
However, the primary flaw in this security measure is that the editors and journalists would still remain vulnerable to attacks, especially after midnight, while returning home from work. Indications are that in the larger interest of the people, the AMWJU and the Editors’ Forum might not launch a cease-work.
Earlier, another Muslim outfit had also threatened to kill editors, journalists and newspaper distributors since their press releases were spiked by the local media.
In Manipur at least four editors and two journalists have been killed in the recent past. Some have survived gunshot wounds while some were lucky to escape unscathed.