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IMPHAL: A massive rally was taken out by journalists here on Wednesday in protest against the government’s failure to book the killers of journalist Konsam Rishikanta. Thousands of members of civil organisations also joined it.
The journalists were demanding a judicial inquiry into the killing of Rishikanta, who was shot dead at a secluded hillock near here on November 19. Heavily armed police and paramilitary personnel followed the demonstrators. Vehicles carrying journalists and members of other civil organisations coming from other districts were not allowed to enter the city.
The demonstrators had assembled on the Hapta Kangjeibung playground for a public meeting after observing a two-minute silence as a mark of respect to the departed soul. The procession was taken out from the Tiddim ground, a distance of about 5 km.Ministers’ plea
It was interesting to note that on Tuesday evening, four Ministers had come to the place where the journalists were on a sit-in. They told the journalists that the Cabinet may hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a high-level police investigating team. Hence, they should give up the demonstration. However, the journalists told the Ministers that there was no question of doing so.
It was also pointed out that the government had not reacted at all to the protests and demands of the journalists all these days.
The Cabinet had started thinking in line of handing over the case to the CBI only when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had directed Chief Ministers of Assam and Manipur, Tarun Gogoi and Okram Ibobi Singh, to hold inquiries into the killings of journalists.Journalists’ contention
Several speakers in the public meeting said that what the journalists suspect — that the killers must be personnel of the State armed forces — was not without basis as there was only one entry to the spot where Rishikanta was killed and armed IRB personnel manned the entry gate. During a meeting with the Chief Minister, the representatives of the All-Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) had pointed out that no militants could have entered the spot carrying the blindfolded journalist.
As the journalists did not entertain the request of the four Ministers, the Cabinet did not take any decision on the issue.
Soon after the public meeting, the journalists resumed the sit-in.
A general body meeting of the AMWJU will be held on Thursday to chalk out further action.
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