Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh has lambasted the Editors Guild of India (EGI) on its report by a fact-finding team and said the government and the people condemn the report in the strongest term.
The fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India recently released a report on the media coverage of the present crisis in the state.
Briefing reporters at his secretariat, here on Monday, Biren Singh said, “An FIR has been lodged against Seema Guha, Sanjay Kapoor, Bharat Bhusan and the president of the Editors Guild of India in connection with their report.”
He said the Union Home minister Amit Shah has spoken in the Parliament, highlighting the complexity of the present crisis in the state. Despite this, some vested interest groups are sending their fact-finding teams which are issuing reports as if they have brought a conclusion to the issue, which could further fuel the crisis, he added.
The chief minister also highlighted another fact-finding team of a political party which had termed the crisis to be state-sponsored.
The government doesn’t take lightly reports blaming only a particular community or the government without any proof or evidence when people are in so much pain and suffering, he said, strongly adding that FIRs have been lodged to initiate legal actions against such leaders.
Regarding the fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India, the chief minister said such a team should comprise members who are well-balanced and intellect.
The editors’ guild is acting in a sub-judice manner and as if trying to further fuel the crisis when various committees led by retired Chief Justices under the supervision of the Supreme Court and central government have already initiated their investigations to find the root cause of the issue, is strongly condemned, Biren said.
Questioning the members of the team about their knowledge of North East, history of Manipur and complexity of the present situation and how they can come to a conclusion without any background knowledge, the chief minister said before commenting on the crisis, they should understand the background of the crisis, how it happened, began and allow the investigations of the various committees complete.
The chief minister also picked a few faults in the report and questioned how they could call themselves editors. He said it is shameful that such members who don’t understand the Indian Forest Act came as a fact finding team.
Biren said it is unfortunate that they have claimed that eviction was carried out against only one community. He explained that during 2015 and 2023 altogether 413 houses were evicted from Reserved Forest (Protected Forest) areas for the welfare of the general public to protect from poppy plantation and global warming.
The evicted houses include only 59 houses of Kuki community, 143 Meitei houses, 137 Meitei Pangal houses, 38 Naga houses and 36 Nepali houses, he added.
The fact finding teams are anti-establishments and came to spread communal venom to further fuel the crisis. They should have first sought proof and evidence, he said, adding that both communities are victims and should be treated and consoled equally.
Stating that human rights violations are witnessed in other states including in Rajasthan, West Bengal, he asked why they are silent on such issues.
The chief minister said, “We condemned in the strongest terms the incident of the two unfortunate women attacked by a mob of which a video went viral, but why did no one call out to appreciate those Meitei women who saved and clothed the two women and took them to a safe place.”
Let us not politicise the present crisis in the state, he said.
Urging all not to take silence of the government on certain issues wrongly, the chief minister said the actions of the government will eventually speak out for itself.
He said, “Safeguarding and protecting the land is the government’s main objective.”
There are certain media reports which stated that people from the Tamil community who couldn’t pay extortion money have been asked to leave Moreh and a certain spokesperson of the Kuki Inpi stating that Meiteis will not be allowed into Moreh town without a solution.
The chief minister warned against such statements and said the government has been maintaining a restraint not wanting to escalate the crisis and in order to control the violence.
An FIR has been lodged to nab the said person and his accomplices, he added.
He appealed to all people of the state to work together to bring peace in the state and said that all that can be done constitutionally will be done.
Collection of biometric details to screen immigrants have already begun and the Centre had asked Manipur and Mizoram to complete the exercise by September end, however, the state will ask for extension by a year to complete the task, the chief minister said.
The press briefing was attended by minister Govindas Konthoujam, minister Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh, minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh and MLA Kh. Joykisan Singh.