NEW DELHI/IMPHAL: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned summoning and ‘harassment’ of senior Manipur-based journalist Wangkhemcha Shamjai by the national investigation agency (NIA).
Senior Manipur-based journalist Wangkhemcha Shamjai is also the president of All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU).
Notably, IJU president Geetartha Pathak also joined a protest held by AMWJU, Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) and Manipur Hill Journalists Union (MHIU) in Imphal, demanding that the “NIA desist from such arbitrary actions against journalists and respect the freedom of the press”.
“Wangkhemcha Shamjai, a respected journalist, who is Editor-in-Chief of an evening daily Kangleipakki Meira was summoned by the NIA on August 2 to its office at 10 a.m. with regard to investigations over alleged involvement of two other journalists aiding the underground groups. With a clear mind to co-operate, Shamjai turned up on time, but to his utter surprise, was left in a small room without being interacted till one officer began interrogating him around noon,” the IJU said in a statement.
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It added: “He was hurled with uncomfortable and unrelated queries in another room regarding underground groups. The interrogation went on till 5 pm and according to Shamjai, he was also intimidated by the NIA sleuths the next day.”
IJU president Geetartha Pathak and secretary general Sabina Inderjit, who is also the president of Federation of Asia Pacific Journalists Association (APJA), said that “such harassment of President of AMWJU, an affiliate, is unacceptable in any democratic society.”
Expressing solidarity with the media organisations, the IJU said NIA’s actions are a “big challenge to functioning of the media and its independence”.
The IJU also urged Manipur governor and chief minister Biren Singh to look into the matter and take necessary actions “to ensure the media fraternity is not further harassed by the NIA or any other investigating agencies in future”.