Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad Incident

Paojakhup Guite *

Needless to say, Media is the fourth pillar of democracy, the other three pillars being Legislature, Executive and Judiciary (not in order of precedence). It is the most viable interface that connects the first three pillars with their stakeholders i.e. citizens. Therefore, its characteristic vitality lies in impartiality, representation, liberty and justice.

A misrepresentation of an incident could unleash a potential threat, even worse than the incident itself. The 16/3 incident of the Chassad inferno/conflagration is a case in point. A shocking sigh caught all and sundry to listen and watch the ISTV news channel, reporting that only around 10 houses were gutted down by fire.

This was so misleading that even the state CM was quoted as saying “khara khara.” This is a gross injustice, for the live report of the burning clearly indicated otherwise—the flame, billowing smoke and the areal extent. This is an un-called for.

In a similar vein, the so-called Impact TV Cable network could not muster the courage to tell the whole world who the real perpetrators were of the heinous crime. The news channel deliberately muzzled itself, compromising its credibility while it reported that the inferno was carried out by ‘unknown miscreants’.

Are these an appeasement tactic? It is the gospel truth that the incident happened in a broad daylight. Even while a smart mobile phone could capture gun-toting men donning in camouflage at the spot, where are your HD Resolution lens facing? Post-incident, there have been ample evidences coming up in the form of video clips and photos. These are substantive enough to lay bare the negligence of the media.

The Fallout

The adverse consequence of the misreporting and misrepresentation took a huge toll in the minds of the people. It resulted into collateral damages – both physical and emotional pains in the victims and the like. Subscribers of the news cables have taken a pledge to unsubscribe them until and unless a clarification is issued from the media houses.

As of now I write this piece the ISTV YouTube News channel dated 16th march (12 noon) that contained the Chassad burning incident has got a staggering 9.2k dislikes, with a meagre 674 likes. This is a huge cost to the media ethics. Applied Ethics would term it a murder of the media.

The Faultline

Land issue has always been the bone of contention. There have been enough claims from both sides. Tangkhuls trace their origin from there, while Kukis claim it to be their heritage from their forefathers who have settled there since time immemorial.

The faultline got into a total split with the untimely burning of the latter’s slashed forest fields by the former. This is more or less tantamount to the 1993’s “Quit Notice” served to the Kukis of Joupi village by the United Naga Council (UNC).

Traditionally or conventionally, a slashed field meant for shifting cultivation is burned in the Spring season, waiting for the slashed trees to get dried up fully and obtain maximum ashes on timely burning for fertilizers.

Defied the Quit Notice, over thousand innocent Kukis gave their lives and lakhs were rendered homeless. This time around, the neighbouring Sampui Tangkhul villagers, orchestrated by the outfit NSCN I-M group, torched the Chassad Kuki village. The village numbers close to two hundred and fifty households, sparing a little 10 to twenty households.

Failed State

State is defined by its varied machineries. Of late, Moreh, a commercial town of Manipur witnessed a flare-up between the people therein and the unwelcomed State police commando. To contain the disgruntled mobs, there was an endless supply line of forces. Reinforcement of police was round the clock.

Here, merely meets the need of the State. Ironically, the Chassad tragedy happened under the nose of the state police and the 42nd Assam Rifles. It is hapless to find both the forces lay supine. Here, loses confidence of its citizens. This laxity is dereliction of duty on their part.

A befitting punishment should be awarded to the concerned perpetrators and their such accomplices as the Commanding Officer of 42nd Assam Rifles, Superintendent of Police of Chassad Police Station and Officer-in-Charge for letting the Tankhul mob burn down. Failure to do the needful may be construed as the State Government is hands in glove with the perpetrators of this ghastly coward act.

The self-proclaimed mob justice based on lack of proper application of mind should be responded by putting the culprits behind bar. Relief and rehab measures for the victims won’t suffice. Anything less than this will be considered inaction on the part of state government and be refused by taking a refuge in Article 32 of the Constitution of India.

With this constitutional writ of Mandamus under Article 32, the Supreme Court can directly be approached, even circumventing the State High Court over the alleged inactions of the said two forces (the Police & the Assam Rifles) and the State Government. Article 32 is a Fundamental Right.

Kuki CSOs should hold firm their integrity and not easily be co-opted. This will come in handy for the Government of Manipur to restore the status quo. Otherwise, the Government will have its task out in ensuring a peaceful co-existence between the two beleaguered communities.

Origin Theories

Tangkhuls trace their origin to the Khangkhui Mangsor caves in Ukhrul district of Manipur. Undoubtedly, they are pioneers of Christianity in the state of Manipur. Conversely, forgetting their belief in the Biblical origin in the Eden garden, they preach around and posit their fellow-believer Kukis as refugees in Manipur. Their common belief of origin has been dumped for their own political mileage.

Historically, until the time the Kukis had arrived in their present areas, no entity hitherto existed as to rule and control over them. This is the heritage of the Kukis of today which nobody could claim ownership over their land.

Way Forward

Come what may, the Kukis shall strive hard, in the interest of justice, to stand their ground and not be bogged down by the irrelevant claims of the Tangkhuls. A peace loving Kuki community will hold fast unto its entrenched non-violence strategy. Else, an eye for an eye would make the whole world blind.

Peace could carve its own niche by involving all the three stakeholders-Kukis, Tangkhuls and State Government. The tri-partite negotiation should be consultative and not prescriptive.

The two tribal Christian communities should try to be on same page to give peace a chance. This will assuredly provide a low hanging fruit for our well-being, while the state government would merely play the second fiddle. This would be worth the while.

Therefore, the Chassad Wrongs have hold out the perpetrators’ hands in a clear sight. No media can hide the truth and no criminal be immune and lay scot-free. There is a great likelihood that those two prominent media houses in the state suffer adverse consequences.

Nevertheless, the aggrieved subscribers are always ready to roll back their resolve to cut their subscription, provided a genuine initiative is taken up to pacify them by the two TV cable networks.

Views expressed are personal.

* Paojakhup Guite wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer can be contacted agt guitepaojakhup9(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 20, 2020

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Chassad village Arson- Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Status Update 03 April : Govt of Manipur
  • A Panic-Stricken Crowd :: Poem
  • Covid-19: what ails one, ails us all
  • PM's Statement on COVID-19 [Apr 3]
  • Manipur BJP Statement [Apr 3]
  • Appeals to Prevent Forest Fires
  • FIR asisu handokkadabani
  • Message from Nagaland Opposition [Apr 3]
  • From Nationwide lockdown to what else ?
  • The virus respect no religion
  • Mr. Khadang - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Status Update 02 April: Medical Directorate
  • Thotsang, Chao Sai, Makanmi: eMing
  • Muslim- one of most misinterpreted community
  • Stop Xenophobia against North East People
  • Essential Commodities Shops - Bishenpur
  • Beneath all that Darkness :: Poem
  • 17 in Assam, two in Manipur
  • Ode to the silent angels
  • Shopping - 30 March #2 : Gallery
  • Status Update 01 April: Medical Directorate
  • Drug users during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reflections in the shadow of Covid-19
  • An absolute sacrifice
  • Report Clarification : Govt of Manipur [Apr 1]
  • Schools to remain closed beyond 31st March
  • Construct Quarantine centre at Koirangei
  • Pledges Rs 50 crore to PM CARES Fund
  • Fresh hotspot in Delhi's Nizamuddin
  • New findings on character of Coronavirus
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #2
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #2 : Gallery
  • Support to stay home and pray
  • Racial prejudice against NE people
  • 'Release prisoners on bail/ parole'
  • Music Video 'Live Your Life' released
  • Donation to CM's Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • Farmer Producer Companies to collect
  • Heed the lockdown call
  • Health Advisory needs to be reviewed
  • Shopping - 30 March #1 : Gallery
  • Status Update 30 March: Medical Directorate
  • Stop Hate in the Time of Corona
  • April Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipuris stranded in State : Nodal Officer
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Mask distributed at Kumbi
  • Nothing spreads like fear
  • Letter to Prime Minister on Racial Attack
  • Lockdown : Ensuring food for all
  • Covid-19: Manipur Strategy to Prevent & Win
  • Status Update 29 March: Medical Directorate
  • Covid-19 or Racism, which one to fight first ?
  • MHA to Chief Secys of States [Mar 29]
  • Home Delivery- Imphal Dists [Mar 29]
  • Shop List opened - Bishenpur [March 29]
  • Violating anti-defection law
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #2
  • Manipur Govt Orders [28 March] : Gallery
  • Status Update 28 March: Medical Directorate
  • Medical material airlifted from Delhi to Imphal
  • Coronavirus Combat; not just Govt's fight
  • Lack of availability of Medicines, Water..
  • Research to plug gaps in COVID-19 testing
  • RIMS areas disinfected - [March 26] : Gallery
  • Status Update 27 March: Medical Directorate
  • Manipur Govt Orders/Directives : 27 March
  • FEGOCTA donate 1 Day Salary to CM's Fund
  • Cure for COVID
  • What a respect to the caregivers !
  • Charity Mission Committee on COVID-19
  • NH7 Weekender : Online music festival
  • Lockdown amid curfew
  • PDS rice to CMHT excluded Keishamthong?
  • Curfew in Imphal - [March 24] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 helpline numbers in Manipur
  • Screening at Mao [Mar 20] : Gallery
  • COVID 19 & Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
  • Decoding Tax Jargon through March Ending
  • NPF urged Nagaland Govt on COVID-19
  • Food items to Child Care Institutes
  • Hand rub bottles manufactured & distributed
  • Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Social Distancing observed [Mar 25] : Gallery
  • An appeal to all on COVID19
  • What is love ? :: Poem
  • Career option in Geomagnetism
  • Kohima gets a brand new song
  • Communique on Covid-19 : Nagaland Oppn
  • CM Covid-19 Relief Fund created
  • 12 on board flight with patient quarantined
  • Quiet celebration of Cheiraoba
  • Quarantine started- Mao -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Leikai Public curfew -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Stop stigma of Covid 19 +Positive Friends
  • Media : Essential services during lockdown
  • Acts of Kindness, Unity among Communities
  • Racist attacks on people from North-east
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • Enforce total lockdown in Nagaland :: NPCC
  • Ugly response to positive case of COVID-19
  • First Case in Manipur
  • Lamphel Nawa Kombirei at Cheiraoba
  • Woman returned from UK has Coronavirus
  • Screening at Mao - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #1
  • Janata Curfew - 'Go corona' festival
  • Panacea for Economic Collapse: COVID-19
  • Total Lockdown till March 31st
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba - Meitei New Year Day
  • Giving racial twist to coronavirus
  • Need action to those mocking PM
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Govt Orders - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Status Update 22 March: Medical Dir Lamphel
  • We will get by. We will survive.
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • War against Corona
  • What ails Indian Railways
  • Appeal to Govt during COVID 19 crisis
  • Hats off to the men in white
  • COVID-19: Ima Keithel -March 21 : Gallery
  • Bandh on March 21 : Gallery
  • Social Justice & Democracy in Northeast
  • Sociology of Coronavirus
  • COCOMI extended help to victims of Chassad
  • The Omnipresent Fear :: Poem
  • MU Chemistry Dept makes hand sanitisers
  • COVID-19 : A blessing for Khwairamband
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #2 :: eRang
  • Who will rebuild Chahsat village ?
  • The untameable :: Poem
  • Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur
  • Challenges for female entrepreneur in India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • How well prepared is Manipur?
  • More seriousness needed to fight COVID-19
  • Khongu NangGi Baasi :: Shumang Leela
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress #1 : Gallery
  • Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad
  • Paneer Our Daughter's Delight
  • Civil Site Engineer / Site Manager
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square
  • Research Officer - Financial at Amethyst
  • Chinky to Coronavirus: Racial profiling chain
  • Promises, prosperity, Rights & Responsibility
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #1
  • When Chassad Blazed Our Hearts Burnt
  • Nagas entering final phase of power struggle
  • Climate change & predator : Any link?
  • Restore Chassad village to normal condition
  • The other side of Covid-19
  • Is Manipur taking adequate steps?
  • Silencing the voice of dissent
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati #3 : Gallery
  • Condemns the burning at Chassad Village
  • Conduct fact finding mission at Kamjong
  • Lost at the edge of uncertainty!
  • Global Youth Peace Conclave postponed
  • Entrance exams after 10 + 2
  • Workshop organized on Einstein's birthday
  • Titular King in the race for RS
  • Coronavirus, H1N1 & garbage in Imphal
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • Restoring Chassad- the village with no house
  • Manipur Maharaj & House of Lords
  • COVID-19 : Hand sanitizers at Bangalore
  • Appeal to install Covid-19 test in Nagaland
  • Communal violence & over-lap ethnic aspiration
  • Understanding Ponzi scheme
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • Nano Technology in Bio Organic Fertilizer
  • Joydev Thongam: Story behind the muscles
  • COVID-19: Agent to end Economic Globalisation
  • Cannabis in HIV and AIDS
  • Is society gender-sensitive enough ?
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #1 : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Imphal : Gallery
  • International Rivers Day at Kangoi Area
  • Getting workplace ready for COVID-19
  • A Tale on Yaoshang :: Poem
  • India's improving journo-murder index
  • But Leishemba should also act politically
  • Yaoshang Marathon @ Singjamei : Gallery
  • Wangkhem Rezia : Success Stories NE
  • Guwahati Music Festival #2 : Gallery
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • Of Purity and Arrival of Spring
  • Fr Biju Michael - Salesian South Asia
  • Yaoshang Cheng Khaiba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Bangalore : Gallery
  • Women's health & nutirition - A glance
  • Yaoshang Rock @Sagolband :: Gallery
  • MOU - Guest House at Mandalay :: Gallery
  • #VOLUNTEER4HEALTH launched at Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba :: Gallery
  • Festival of Holi- Brahma Kumaris concept
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa @ Kangla :: Gallery
  • Health Camp at Pune :: Gallery
  • International Women's Day at Bangalore
  • Universal access to sexual health services
  • Health Camp on Women's Day at Pune
  • More employment for our politicians
  • Gender Resource Centre in Agriculture
  • Entry points at Indo-Myanmar border sealed
  • Peace rallies urge PM for early Naga solution
  • Reversing masculinization of India's workforce
  • Torch Rally: Journalist Sports: Gallery
  • Politics of South China Sea Disputes : Book
  • 1st Barak Festival @Senapati: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #1: Gallery
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • yeniHTa :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang Thabal Peisa donation: Gallery
  • World Meetei Convention @Cachar : Gallery
  • 13th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Wakching Thana Lakpada #2 :: eRang
  • Students @ Class XII Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Bangladeshki Sana Tampha #1 :: eRang
  • Manipur Legislative Assembly Building : Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery