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Update on the Appeal for Urgent Actions Regarding Killing of Journalists in North East India

Update on the Appeal for Urgent Actions Regarding Killing of Journalists in North East India

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BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE (BHRPC), a human rights organisation working in Assam, India, requests your urgent actions in the following situation in North East India.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION: BHRPC issued an URGENT APPEAL regarding Killing of Journalists and Threat to Freedom of Expression and Thought in North East India on 25 November, 2008 which can be found at http://bhrpc.net.googlepages.com/UrgentAppealtothePubicReJagjitSaikia.pdf and is also reproduced bellow. Today BHRPC received further information on the event mainly concerning the death of Mr. Konsam Rishikanta, a trainee sub-editor of The Imphal Free Press, an English daily of Manipur, who was shot dead on 17 November in Imphal, Manipur by some unidentified assailants. The updated information given by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) under its URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME mentioning the Human Rights Alert (HRA) as source is reproduced bellow:

“Konsam Rishikanta Singh is aged about 22 years. Singh was the Junior Sub-Editor of one of the prominent English language daily--the Imphal Free Press (IFP). On November 17, Singh was expected to join duty at his office at 5pm since he was assigned the night shift. However, while Singh failed to report to work, an unidentified person called the editor of IFP, Mr. Pradeep Phanjaobam, on his mobile telephone and enquired whether Singh has reported to duty. When Phanjaobam informed that Singh has not reported to work, the caller informed
BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE (BHRPC), a human rights organisation working in Assam, India, requests your urgent actions in the following situation in North East India.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION: BHRPC issued an URGENT APPEAL regarding Killing of Journalists and Threat to Freedom of Expression and Thought in North East India on 25 November, 2008 which can be found at http://bhrpc.net.googlepages.com/UrgentAppealtothePubicReJagjitSaikia.pdf and is also reproduced bellow. Today BHRPC received further information on the event mainly concerning the death of Mr. Konsam Rishikanta, a trainee sub-editor of The Imphal Free Press, an English daily of Manipur, who was shot dead on 17 November in Imphal, Manipur by some unidentified assailants. The updated information given by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) under its URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME mentioning the Human Rights Alert (HRA) as source is reproduced bellow:

“Konsam Rishikanta Singh is aged about 22 years. Singh was the Junior Sub-Editor of one of the prominent English language daily--the Imphal Free Press (IFP). On November 17, Singh was expected to join duty at his office at 5pm since he was assigned the night shift. However, while Singh failed to report to work, an unidentified person called the editor of IFP, Mr. Pradeep Phanjaobam, on his mobile telephone and enquired whether Singh has reported to duty. When Phanjaobam informed that Singh has not reported to work, the caller informed

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Published by: Waliullah Ahmed Laskar on Apr 12, 2009
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06/17/2009

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APPEAL FOR URGENT ACTIONS PRGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Event No. 06/2008, Update on the event, Date: 26/11/08
Subject:
Right to Life, Right to Security and Right to Freedom of Expression and Thought.
 ISSUES:
Killing of Journalists and Threat to Freedom of Expression and Thought in NorthEast India.
BARAK HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION COMMITTEE (BHRPC),
a human rightsorganisation working in Assam, India, requests your urgent actions in the following situationin North East India.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION:
BHRPC issued an URGENT APPEALregarding Killing of Journalists and Threat to Freedom of Expression and Thought in NorthEast India on 25 November, 2008 which can be found athttp://bhrpc.net.googlepages.com/UrgentAppealtothePubicReJagjitSaikia.pdf and is alsoreproduced bellow. Today BHRPC received further information on the event mainlyconcerning the death of Mr. Konsam Rishikanta, a trainee sub-editor of The Imphal FreePress, an English daily of Manipur, who was shot dead on 17 November in Imphal, Manipurby some unidentified assailants. The updated information given by the Asian Human RightsCommission (AHRC) under its URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME mentioning the HumanRights Alert (HRA) as source is reproduced bellow:“Konsam Rishikanta Singh is aged about 22 years. Singh was the Junior Sub-Editor of one othe prominent English language daily--the Imphal Free Press (IFP). On November 17, Singhwas expected to join duty at his office at 5pm since he was assigned the night shift. However,while Singh failed to report to work, an unidentified person called the editor of IFP, Mr.Pradeep Phanjaobam, on his mobile telephone and enquired whether Singh has reported toduty. When Phanjaobam informed that Singh has not reported to work, the caller informedPhanjaobam that Singh was shot dead near Langol area.Huiyen Lanpao, a local daily in Manipur was also informed about Singh's murder. Reportersand friends from Huiyen Lanpao rushed to the area where Singh was reportedly shot at. Asthey reached the area, they could see commandos from the Manipur State Police at the crimescene. It is also reported that the area where Singh was shot at is a high security area where aperson to enter or depart from the area has to clear at least three security gates staffed by statesecurity forces.The body was soon removed from the scene and an autopsy was conducted at the RegionalInstitute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal. It is reported that there were three projectileinjuries on the body, one below the chin and two on the upper torso. While the detailedballistic and forensic report is awaited, the fact that three shots fired at Singh hit him suggeststhat the assassin fired at Singh from a relatively lesser distance and should have attracted the
 
BARAK HUMAN RIGHTSPROTECTION COMMITTE
 
Rongpur Part-iv (Near Uco Bank), Silchar - 9, Cachar (Assam)
E-mail: bhrpc.net@gmail.com, FAX- +913842-263592; WebPages: http://bhrpc.net.googlepages.com
 
attention of the security personals guarding the area. The silence on the part of the securityforces, it is alleged, is indicative of the involvement of the security forces stationed in thestate in this incident.On the next day the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) held an emergencymeeting at the Manipur Press Club. The meeting condemned the killing and held a protestrally on the same day evening. The AMWJU also suspect the security forces as behind themurder. The AMWJU later on the same day submitted a written memorandum to the Chief Minister of the state demanding for a judicial enquiry into the incident and further demandingcompensation to be paid to Singh's family by the state.Since the government failed to meet these demands, the AMWJU organised a sit-in protest inthe state capital on November 20. The AMWJU also said that they would stop working fromNovember 20. On November 25, the members in the state cabinet demanded the state Chief Minister to hand over the investigation of the murder to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI). The cabinet meeting was convened specifically to discuss about the progress in theinvestigation into the murder. On a similar footing the Editors' Guild of India has filed amemorandum to the Prime Minister of India seeking an intervention to ensure proper enquiryinto this case.The HRA informs that the killing of Singh is the latest in the series of murders of scribes,carried out both by the state as well as the non-state armed opposition groups. The HRAreports that Mr. R. K. Santatomba, the editor of Kangla Langpung was killed in 1993, Mr.H.A. Lalrhlolu, editor of Shan was killed in 1999, Mr. Thongnoujam Brajamani, editor of Manipur News was killed in 2000, and Mr. Yambem Megha, a correspondent of VisionNorth East was killed in 2002. In 2006 there was an attempt on the life of Mr. RatanLuwangcha, the Secretary General of AMWJU. But he survived.The HRA further informs that in none of the cases cited above there has been a policeinvestigation which resulted in a conviction. While the outlawed armed groups continues topressure the local media to carry their handout and propaganda material as news, the securityforces and the police exerts undue pressure upon the media whenever a news of violation of human rights and corruption are exposed by the media.Last month for example, on October 10, 2008, the Manipur police threatened the editors of three local dailies (the Sangai Express, Poknapham and Naharolgi Thoudang) when theypublished news exposing the nexus between Manipur police and the smugglers active in thestate. The news exposed the delivery of 13 truckloads of Urea that was reportedly smuggledfrom India to Burma to manufacture illegal drugs. The AMWJU condemned the police actionand further asked the Director General of Police (DGP) to tender an apology. The AMWJUalso informed the DGP that he would be responsible if anything happened to the journalistswho covered the news.There is no direct evidence to directly link the killing of Singh with this exposure.Nevertheless, the fear generated by the killing and the government's studied indifference isexpected to have conveyed the message clear and loud to the media about the consequencesthey could face if they try to write against the police or anyone in the security forces stationedin the state.
 
The HRA informs that it is of the opinion that the killing of Singh is intended to generate asense of fear and to silence the media from exposing the criminals within the lawenforcement agencies.”
 
ACTIONS REQUESTED:
Please write to the authorities in India urging them1.
 
To conduct prompt, objective and transparent investigation into the incident.2.
 
To bring the perpetrators of these ghastly acts to book and punish them as per law.3.
 
To pay adequate compensation to the dependants/relatives of the deceased.4.
 
To ensure security of the life of journalists.5.
 
To protect the right to freedom of expression and thought of the people by going hardon those elements who pose threat to it.
Or
you may forward the following letter adjusting the salutation part to the addresses givenbellow:
ToThe Prime Minister of India,
Prime Minister’s Office, Room No. 152,South Block, New DelhiSubject:
Urgent Appeal Regarding Killing of Journalist in Imphal, Manipur.
 
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am informed by reliable sources that a young journalist Mr. Konsam Rishikanta Singh, agedabout 22 years was killed on 17 November, 2008. Singh was the Junior Sub-Editor of one of the prominent English language daily--the Imphal Free Press (IFP). On November 17, Singhwas expected to join duty at his office at 5pm since he was assigned the night shift. However,while Singh failed to report to work, an unidentified person called the editor of IFP, Mr.Pradeep Phanjaobam, on his mobile telephone and enquired whether Singh has reported toduty. When Phanjaobam informed that Singh has not reported to work, the caller informedPhanjaobam that Singh was shot dead near Langol area.Huiyen Lanpao, a local daily in Manipur was also informed about Singh's murder. Reportersand friends from Huiyen Lanpao rushed to the area where Singh was reportedly shot at. Asthey reached the area, they could see commandos from the Manipur State Police at the crimescene. It is also reported that the area where Singh was shot at is a high security area where aperson to enter or depart from the area has to clear at least three security gates staffed by statesecurity forces.The body was soon removed from the scene and an autopsy was conducted at the RegionalInstitute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal. It is reported that there were three projectileinjuries on the body, one below the chin and two on the upper torso. While the detailed

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