The police in Manipur have booked the editors of Frontier Manipur, an online news portal, for sedition and criminal conspiracy over an article that was published on January 8. The editors have also been accused of “supporting a terrorist organization” under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
M Joy Luwang, who wrote the article headlined “Revolutionary journey in a mess”, has also been charged under the same sections. The piece is a critical indictment of Manipur’s many armed groups who have waged an armed secessionist movement since the 1960s. In the article, Luwang accused the groups of “falling prey to the Indian government’s design of breaking their backbones” and not living up to the “revolutionary” ideals they were formed with.
The armed groups, he wrote, were falling for low-hanging fruits. For instance, the celebration of inclusion of Manipuri as one of the scheduled languages of India “by begging” was “one of the saddest memories”, he wrote. “It showed how people hanker after colonial laws.”
In the first information report, the state police have claimed that the author “openly endorsed revolutionary ideologies and activities and expressed shock at the deteriorating character of the armed revolutionaries of Manipur in the last decade”. Luwang has been accused of urging people of the state to become “true revolutionaries” and preaching about how they should behave.
“His article clearly expressed sympathy and support to the ideologies and activities of the armed revolutionary groups and outrightly called the rule of law of the Union government and Centre as colonial law,” the FIR said.
Dhiren also received a call on Sunday evening, summoning him to the police station. Speaking to Scroll.in on his way to the police station, he said, “We received the piece on email and we decided to publish it as it was a balanced analytical article. If anything, it was critical of the armed movement. As a website, we publish critical views of both the government and the armed groups.”