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Manipur CM condemns EGI report on crisis, FIR lodged

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Imphal: Manipur government has condemned a report of Editors Guild of India and filed an FIR on the individuals who made the report.

When the people are facing such hardship in Manipur with various government agencies trying to resolve the crisis, some people with vested interests add fuel to the ongoing crisis by giving reports without properly assessing the situation, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Monday.

Addressing the media at his office, N Biren said ,” a report was published by the Editors Guild of India about the Manipur crisis. He questioned the way the report was prepared and asked who influenced it, as no attempt was made to find out the root causes of the crisis. When people are dying and displaced, such a biased report has aggravated the situation in Manipur.”

The victims feel that they have been portrayed as aggressors. The government knows the causes of the crisis, yet it is not taking any decision or making any statement as it will be sub judice. He reminded that the Supreme Court had already decided to probe the crisis.

“Who are you who make such a report, how much you know about the complex situation, about the history of Manipur” Chief Minister asked. During such a critical juncture issuing a report and giving verdict when people are suffering is highly condemnable,’ he said.

The FIR filed against the four individuals who made the report was necessitated as they poured oil into the burning fire, the Chief Minister said.

The Manipur government has all the information about arson and violence that started at 10.30 am on May 3 in Churachandpur district, but no statement has been issued as it will disturb the peace process, and the Supreme Court has decided to investigate the matter.

The report was completely wrong, and those who prepared it were not aware of forest laws, as the approval of the central government is required to take up any work in reserved forest areas.

How can people who don’t know about the people, history, or forest laws give such a shameless report by visiting the state for a few days? he said.

The report mentioned that evictions of people were carried out from forest areas by only one community, which was erroneous, he said.

From 2015 until date, in the drive against encroachment in reserved forest areas, 413 houses have been evicted. About 143 houses belonging to Meitei were evicted: 137 Meitei Pangal, 59 belonging to Kuki, 38 Naga, and 36 Nepali, he said.

“The EGI team was anti-state and came with a mission to spread venom, and they gave a report that was fed by people who were trying to destroy the land and the people,” N Biren said.

The report wrongly reported that a forest office at Churachandpur burned on May 3 morning and was the house of a particular person, he said.

“This is the time to console the people from both communities and give them a healing touch. The Editors Guild was silent on violence in other states, ” the cm said.

Meanwhile, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union, AMWJU, and the Editors Guild of Manipur, EGM, also strongly denied the Editors Guild of India’s motivated allegation based on hearsay.

The two organisations said the report blamed one ethnic group for the crisis. The EGI refers to a certain Hill Area Committee Act of 1972, but no such Act is in existence. The last reserved forest declared in Manipur was in 1990, according to Manipur Forest Department records.

The EGI report wrongly mentioned that the crisis was at its peak in the Manipur valley on the night of May 3, which was wrong as violence escalated from May 4. The two bodies have decided to start legal action if the wrongs are not rectified.

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