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Humans Rights Body Appeals to NHRC Against Manipuri Journo’s Detention

Senior journalist Hemantakumar Ningombam was detained for his statement on the state government’s anti-drug policy.
Humans Rights Body Appeals to NHRC Against Manipuri Journo’s Detention

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A human rights organisation has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, against the “arbitrary detention” of senior Manipuri journalist Hemantakumar Ningombam for his statement on the state government’s anti-drug policy on TV.

In a letter sent to the NHRC, the Human Rights Defenders Alert (HRDA) alleged “harassment, illegal search of a residence and arbitrary detention of senior journalist Hemantakumar Ningombam by police in Imphal East”, the EastMojo reported.

The letter, signed by HRDA national working secretary Henri Tiphagne, appealed to the NHRC to treat the detention of Ningombam, who is the editor of the local Manipuri vernacular daily Sanaleibak, as a case of reprisal against a “journalist and a human rights defender for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights”.

The HRDA further requested the NHRC to urgently direct the director general of the police to start an immediate and impartial investigation into the matter and submit a report to the Commission within two weeks and also asked for Ningombam’s security.

According to the HRDA, three police vehicles led by the second officer-in-charge of Irilbung Police Station picked up Ningombam from his residence around 7.30 am on Wednesday and detained him for around four hours before releasing him. M Pradip Singh, SP Imphal East, and Themthing Ngasangva, IGP, met the journalist at the police station, the HRDA added.

The police said, as per the HRDA, Ningombam was detained for his opinion on the government’s anti-drug policy in relation to the poppy cartel on a panel discussion on local channel ISTV.

This was not the first detainment of a journalist in the state for expressing an opinion against the government, the HRDA alleged. Many journalists have been arrested and booked under the National Security Act on frivolous charges, it further alleged.

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