Denying the bail to the arrested journalists, Special Court (NIA), Bishnupur Judge W. Tonen Meitei observed that on careful perusal of the case records, there appears that both the accused are following the instructions of S/S Publicity Director of the UNLF
A special NIA court, Bishnupur on Thursday sent two journalists arrested for their alleged link with a proscribed militant organisation in Manipur to 15-day judicial remand. Journalists Bijoy Kakchingtabam, Associate Editor of Poknapham and Leimapokpam Shanjitkumar Singh, Reporter of Eikhoigi Panthung were arrested in Bishnupur Bazar near Ngaikhong crossing along Tiddim Road on 24 June 2022.
Denying the bail to the arrested journalists, Special Court (NIA), Bishnupur Judge W Tonen Meitei observed that on careful perusal of the case records, there appears that both the accused are following the instructions of Publicity Director of the UNLF. “I find prima facie case as against the two accused persons and thus, both the accused persons are hereby remanded into judicial custody till 14-07-2022, ” he said.
According to police, Bijoy and Shanjitkumar are working under command of one Shakhen of UNLF Publicity Director of proscribed United National Liberation Front of Manipur (UNLF), presently staying at Myanmar. They came to Bishnupur under the telephonic (Whatsapp) instruction of Shakhen to recruit new cadres from the Bishnupur area whom they have to send to Myanmar.
Three mobile phones (two Ml & one Samsung) having one Jio SIM card each bearing mobile no. 7005623239, 9366552285, 6009005372 and Verna car, black in colour bearing regd. No: MN06LA7696 were seized from, police said.
During interrogation in police custody, Bijoy Kakchingtabam said he had also been Treasurer and General Secy of AMWJU and twice elected as President of AMWJU. “Being in the field of journalism, most of the UG Organizations in Manipur (both valley and hill) used to send their statements to AMWJU or respective press dailies for publication viz. either through WhatsApp and E-Mail,” he said.
He told the police that he came in touch with Shakhen, Publicity Director of UNLF Shakhen during his tenure as AMWJU general secy. On examination of his mobile phone, it was found that he had saved the mobile number of Shakhen as BHOOT in his contact list, said the police.
Leimapokpam Shanjitkumar said in the year May, 2019, he was elected as a Treasurer of AMWJU and is holding the same post till now. When their AMWJU President Shyamjai kept his mobile phone off due to the pressure mounted upon him by the both factions of the outfit UNLF, the outfit started contacting the members of the AMWJU for publication of their statement, he added.
Shanjitkumar told the police he started communicating with Shakhen when he started contacting him through WhatsApp calls and text message from his mobile No. +91 8413976340 which he saved as “News Editor”.
According to the police, the arrested journalists were instructed by Shakhen to pick up one lady (an alleged recruit) from Bishnupur Bazar and to bring her to Imphal via Moreh. However, they were picked up by Commando personnel while they were waiting for her.
- Lenibala, the counsel for the accused persons, submitted that the arrested journalists were neither members of the banned organization of UNLF nor committed any prejudicial act as alleged. So offence under sections 20 and 18B of the UA(P) Act cannot be charged against them.
She prayed for releasing them on bail. She pleaded about the ailments and having a one-time President of AMJWU, which is also one of the reputed unions and further submitted that Shanjitkumar is also treasurer of the union.