Imphal: Editor of Sanaleibak, a Manipuri daily, Hemantakumar Ningomba was detained for hours over his comments on Manipur government’s War on Drugs campaign in a discussion hour of a local TV channel.
Hemantakumar was picked up by a team of Irilbung police station in the early morning of Wednesday from his residence in Imphal East and detained for nearly four hours.
During the discussion he gave his opinion that Poppy cultivation could have been rooted out long time back; it is sad that it doesn’t happen till today. “To stop Poppy cultivation, please bow down and request to two distinguished women, that’s all, I would not mention their names. I don’t mean they are doing the cultivation, I am suggesting to take their help to stop it. I hope that poppy cultivation will be reduced to half.”
He made his suggestion to the chief minister of Manipur and people.
He said the police activity of going to Poppy fields and slashing Poppy plants with sticks and uploading a few photos of their act will not help.
AMWJU, EGM condemn police act
In connection with the detention of Hemantakumar, All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and Editor Guild Manipur (EGM) conducted a meeting at Manipur Press Club, here on the same day.
A joint press statement of AMWJU and EGM signed by its president Wangkhemcha Samjai and Khogendra Khomdram respectively said the meeting strongly condemned the manner of the picking up of editor Hemantakumar Ningomba from his residence in the early hour of Wednesday by a team of Irilbung police station of Imphal East district. He is a respectable editor and not an absconder and the manner how he was picked up for his statement in the panel discussion in local TV channel affects his dignity and status in the society. The concerned officers could have simply invited him for a discussion during the office hours as no case has been registed against him and he was set free after some hour, it added.
The meeting also resolved to place before the state government to ensure that such unsavoury incidents do not recur in future. The journalist fraternity will not take it lying down and all efforts to safeguard the journalists of the state will be taken up including legal action if similar incident occurred in future, the two journalist bodies cautioned.
Congress youths slam BJP government
Youth leaders of Congress, Manipur has strongly condemned the issue.
“Today’s episode will remain a history,” youth leader Ningthoujam Popilal said. Those in BJP government are happy when it is appreciated, but the dictatorial government that wears the mask of democracy annoys when criticized or give suggestions to issues, he added.
How can a common man enjoy the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution even when a journalist was threatened to shut his mouth for speaking the truth? He asked.
People will soon teach the BJP government a lesson. Stop such act, let the people speak, the youth leader said.
What police say
The Manipur Police is making all out efforts to effectively execute the Government of Manipur policy on “War on Orug” with all earnest to make Manipur a drug free state. In this regard Hemantakumar made a very significant statement that has a very significant impact on ‘War on Drug’ policy and also could discourage and undermined the moral of the police department in this regard, superintendent of police, Imphal East said in a press note.
In order to ascertain the statement, Hemantakumar Ningombam was summoned to police station as per law, the senior police officer said.