Biren Singh | File photo

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh has come out strongly against the report on media coverage by a fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) and said that the government and the people condemn the report in the strongest terms.

A fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India had recently released a report on the media coverage of the present crisis in Manipur.

Briefing media persons on September 4, N 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.

N Biren Singh said that Union home minister Amit Shah had spoken in the parliament, highlighting the complexity of the present crisis in the state. Despite this, it is strongly condemned that “some vested interest groups” are sending their fact-finding teams which are issuing reports as if they have brought a conclusion to the issue and which could further fuel the crisis, Biren 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 the 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, while 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 intellects.

The chief minister also said that the Editors’ Guild 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 the central government had already initiated their investigations to find the root cause of the issue, is strongly condemned”.

Questioning the members of the team about their knowledge of Northeast, 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 that 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 that it is shameful that such members who don’t understand the Indian Forest Act came as a fact-finding team.

He added that it is unfortunate that they have claimed that eviction was carried out against only one community and 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 413 houses include 59 houses of the Kuki community, 143 Meitei houses, 137 Meitei Pangal houses, 38 Naga houses and 36 Nepali houses, he added.

Biren Singh said those 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 that “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 added.

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