TODAY -

Media freedom and attack
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: August 19 2015 -

Rowdy cops assault Hueiyen Lanpao Staff on August 17 2015
Rowdy cops assault Hueiyen Lanpao Staff on August 17 2015 :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao



The attack on a staff member of Hyeiyen Lanpao Group of Publications on Monday night by some rouge police commandos is literally a blot on the face of the Police Department.

It should be recalled that in recent times, the infamous legacy of police brutality in Manipur began fading gradually.

However, the same was revived in a different avatar with the recent killing of student protester Sapam Robinhood who was part of a protest rally.

It has been reported that the police applied excessive force to control students on strike. This was followed by another incident in which girl students were brutally assaulted by the police.

While one can understand the duty of the police while discharging their duties following the briefs of their bosses, the excessive brutality committed on the ILPS protesters are uncalled for if the police department wants to keep its record straight and fair.

Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam had more than once said that the police personnel engaged in controlling striking mob had been given the instruction to maintain “maximum restraint”.

However, it seems the minister’s plea fell on deaf ears.

In the ongoing agitation, one can understand the problems of maintaining “maximum restraint”.

However, no one can condone the application of brutal tactics as part of policing the people, particularly that of media persons.

Here, one is not arguing for unbridled freedom of the media persons to do whatever they please.

It should be remembered that when even media persons are not spared, one can well imagine the totality of chaos in the “mind” of an institution called the Police Department.

This is why the attack on the media has to be strongly condemned by one and all. The attack on Hueiyen Lanpao staffer is no exception.

The brutality of those involved in the act could be well gauged from the fact that the commandos involved did not spare the media persons even after producing their identity cards.

Even if some of the senior police officers agreed with the fact that the commandos were applying force not required for such kind of incident, it has been emphasized more than once that the police forces were under tremendous pressures due to the nature of the intensified ILPS demand agitation.

However, this fact can be no excuse for the unnecessary police brutality against the press.

This is why all the demands related to the August 17 incident should be seriously addressed by the Government and all the guilty police personnel should be booked as per the existing law.

The assault on the three media persons in front of a media house – Hueiyen Lanpao amounts to direct attack on the sanctity of media institutions and this attack was an unforgivable assault on freedom of the press and the entire media fraternity.



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