IMPHAL, Sept 4: Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on
Monday said that his government has filed an FIR against the
president and three members of the Editors Guild of India (EGI),
and accused them of trying to provoke clashes in the state.
Singh told a press conference here that at a time when many
have been killed and left homeless, the EGI published a “totally
one-sided” report without understanding the complexity of the
crisis faced by Manipur, the background and the history of the
The Editors Guild in a report published last week had critiqued
media coverage out of Manipur, a state which has seen ethnic
clashes for the last four months. It has criticised one-sided
reporting by some media outlets, slammed the internet ban as
being detrimental to press reporting and claimed there were
indications that the state leadership had turned partisan during
the conflict period.
“The state government has filed an FIR against the members of
the Editors Guild who are trying to create more clashes in the
state of Manipur,” Singh told a press conference.
Besides EGI president Seema Mustafa, those who were booked
are the three senior journalists – Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan
and Sanjay Kapoor – who visited the state between August 7
and 10 to study media reportage on the ethnic violence.
“They are anti-state, anti-national and anti-establishment
(people) who came to pour venom. Had I known it before,
would not have allowed them to enter,” the chief minister
The EGI in its report published on Saturday said it received
several representations that the media in Manipur was playing
a partisan role in the ongoing ethnic conflict between the
Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities.
“There are clear indications that the leadership of the state
became partisan during the conflict. It should have avoided
taking sides in the ethnic conflict but it failed to do its duty as a
democratic government which should have represented the
entire state,” the report said.
In normal circumstances, the EGI said, reports filed by
journalists are cross-checked and monitored by their editors or
chiefs of bureaus from the local administration, police and
security forces, but this was not possible during the conflict.
“The internet ban made matters worse. Communication
blockade by the government had a deleterious effect on
journalism as it directly impacted the ability of journalists to
communicate with each other, their editors and their sources.
It also impacted the media because local news gathered
without any communication links was not sufficient to give a
balanced view of the situation,” the report said.
It said with the internet suspended, and communication and
transport in disarray, the media had to rely almost entirely on
the narrative of the state government.
The EGI pointed out that members of the state leadership
labelled sections of the Kuki-Zo tribals as “illegal immigrants”
and “foreigners” without any reliable data or evidence.
“This despite the fact that the decadal census from 1901 to
2011 has not shown any unusual growth of the non-Naga (the
other minority tribal community) tribal population,” the report
The fact that there was a military coup in Myanmar which led
to an inflow of about 40,000 refugees to Mizoram and
reportedly about 4,000 to Manipur “was used to brand all Kuki-
Zo as illegal immigrants”.
“This was presented as pressure on resources but was also a
war for political space, with the politicians using the fear of the
outsiders to consolidate its political position,” it said.
The Editors’ Guild members were booked under various
sections of the IPC including 153A (promoting enmity between
two communities), 200 (using false declaration as true), 298
(deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), and under
provisions of the Information Technology Act and Press Council
“…I also give a warning to the members of the Editors Guild, if
you want to do something, please come to the spot, see the
ground reality, meet the representatives of all communities, all
victims and publish what you found. Otherwise, meeting some
sections of the people only and coming to a conclusion – that’s
a disservice and is condemnable,” Singh said.
The claim that eviction was carried against one community only
is “not true”, he said adding that the drive began in 2015 and
413 houses have been vacated “for the welfare of the general
Of the 413 houses, Singh said, 59 belonged to the Kukis, 143 to
Meiteis, 137 to Manipuri Muslims, 38 to Nagas and 36 to
The chief minister wondered why nobody spoke anything about
“the mother” who gave clothes to the women, who were
paraded naked, and sent them home.
Singh alleged that none has been saying anything about similar
incidents in Rajasthan and West Bengal.
He said the process of collecting biometric details of identified
illegal immigrants in the state is continuing.
“The Centre had asked us to complete the process by
September but we have sought an extension of one year as we
have to find out more villages,” Singh said.
He rued that the EGI’s report came when investigations are
being carried out by several committees constituted by the
Supreme Court and the central government.
Singh said an FIR has been registered against Kuki Inpi Manipur
leader K Haokip for allegedly declaring that no Meiteis can
enter the India-Myanmar border town of Moreh till there is a
All Manipur Working Journalists Union and Editors Guild
Manipur also slammed the EGI for its “allegations based on
More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds
were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on
May 3, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill
districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for
Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population
and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis
— constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill