Days after all newspapers in Manipur stopped publication following an attack on a leading daily’s office, Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) will probe the grenade attack. The office of Imphal-based daily newspaper “Poknapham” was targeted last Sunday but no one was injured, police sources said.
Announcing the decision, Mr Singh told the ongoing assembly session that the four-member SIT would be led by the Superintendent of Police of Imphal West district K Meghachandra Singh.
The Chief Minister also condemned the attack calling it “cowardly” and assured that the accused will be arrested soon and informed the House that an FIR has been lodged.
No newspaper hit the stands and no local television channels in Manipur aired any news or programmes for the third day on Tuesday as editors and journalists continued to halt work protesting against the attack.
CCTV footage showed a lone woman riding a two-wheeler stopping in front of the ‘Poknapham’ newspaper office and throwing the grenade inside in the evening.
The grenade didn’t explode. If it had, many employees and visitors may have been killed and injured, police sources further added.
No outfit has claimed responsibility of the attack so far however this is not the first time newspapers or journalists have been targeted in Manipur.
The powerful All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and the Indian Journalist Union condemned the attack and demanded security for the journalists and media offices. A joint delegation of both groups submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister who assured appropriate action.
Journalists have also been holding sit-in demonstrations in state capital Imphal since Sunday.
The AMWJU and the Editors Guild of Manipur have announced that newspaper offices and television channels would remain shut, and publication would be suspended till tomorrow.
32 newspapers, mostly vernacular, are published daily from Manipur and there are several cable-based television channels.