Imphal, Dec.3 : The journalistic fraternity in Manipur is outraged over the recent killing of a junior journalist working with the popular English daily, the Imphal Free Press.
Twenty two-year-old Konsam Rishikanta Singh was the lone working member of his family and is survived by two young sisters, a mother and father.
Radhe, a relative of the Konsam, said: "We are furious over Konsam's killing. He was a sincere guy who never even took out time for friends due to work. Even if he was at fault, they should have informed his guardians or us. But killing someone brutally cannot be acceptable at any cost. Unidentified armed youths killed him."
In protest, Manipur's journalist body, All Manipur Working Journalists' Union or AMWJU has suspended their work. Television stations opted to off air and newspaper publication remained stopped for a long period. They started operation on Tuesday (Dec.2).
Journalists have demanded that the actual culprits behind the journalist's gruesome killing should be arrested and the mediapersons should be ensured safety to perform in a free and fair environment.
Pradeep Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free Press said, "It was very bad, very unfortunate and very tragic incident. All of us are very sad about the development. We are asking the government to do something. We will also do something on our own. It is basically intimidation. You cannot feel free if you are intimidated."
S. Hemanta Singh, President, All Manipur Working Journalist Union said, "We feel helpless. How can we work like this, we don't understand. Such kind of act is a serious threat to our journalist fraternity."
Rishikanta is not the first journalist who has fallen prey to the bullets of militants. At least six journalists have been killed by militants in the last one decade in Manipur alone. The latest killing has once again raised the question after all how free can the Press be in a turbulent State like Manipur? Can it actually be expected to function fearlessly to highlight the social ills that have plagued the Manipuri society for years?