Imphal newspapers publish blank editorial columns

Imphal: Imphal-based newspapers, including the daily which was burned down by alleged members of BJP’s youth wing, left their editorial columns blank in protest here on Monday.

Copies of vernacular newspaper Poknapham were set on fire by unidentified miscreants in front of BJP’s party office at Nityapat Chuthek here on Saturday over alleged disparaging content against the Prime Minister.

“The editorial column has been left blank today in protest against burning of an Imphal-based newspaper by BJP Youth Wing,” the editor of Sangai Express said.

The president of All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), W Shyamjai, condemning Saturday’s incident, told reporters that “the act of burning the paper amounts to promulgation of mob culture.”

“If the parties involved are unable to settle the matter at the level of AMWJU, they can approach the court,” he said.

The BJP Manipur Pradesh Yuva Morcha did not discuss the matter with the editors and the publishers of Poknapham, Shyamjai added.

Echoing similar sentiments, President A Mobi of Editors’ Guild Manipur said the members of the political party should have approached the right forum instead of burning editions of the vernacular.

A BJP official said the “Vox Populi” column in Saturday’s edition of Poknapham earned the wrath of his party members.

“The content which appeared in the ‘Vox Populi’ column of the daily is being considered derogatory against the Prime Minister of the country,” said a BJP official on the condition of anonymity.

He, however, did not confirm if the copies of Poknapham were burned by his party members.

“The case might be taken to the Press Council of India,” he added.