From Our Special Correspondent
IMPHAL, Aug 7: Some persons identifying themselves as insurgents of the Military Defence Force (MDF) today rang up two newspaper offices to inform the alarmed journalists and staff that bombs had been planted. If they value their lives they should scoot before the bombs explode, they were told. Naturally the employees and reporters fled since there have been death threats from two underground organizations for some time.
The reporters and editors are accused of discirimination since the press releases of the two outfits are not entertained.
The police were informed of the phone calls. Bomb experts rushed there. There were extensive searches in the newspaper offices. However, no explosive was found in the newspaper offices. The two newspapers which were thus subjected to hoax were Naharolgi Thoudang and Hueiyen Lanpao. It may be recalled that the MDF and the People's United Liberation Front (P M Akber faction) have been threatening to execute some editors and journalists.
Besides the newspaper distributors would be targetted, it was announced. The policy of the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union is not to publish the press release of the new underground organizations and factions. However, both the outfits are not amused with the stands taken by the AMWJU and editors. For the time being the PULF(PM Akber faction) has not reacted to the stand taken by the AMWJU vis-a-vis the death threats. The MDF is not reacting to the expected lines. However, it was somewhat surprising that the newspaper offices were threatened with bomb hoax. But then the editors and journalists are leaving nothing to chance. Their mobile phones are switched off. They will talk through the office phones only to known persons. Most of them are not available for personal meetings.
Home Minister G Gaikhangam has asked the police to tighten security measures. However, it is not possible to provide fool proof security to the editors and journalists. Ahongshangbam Mobi, the president of the AMWJU says that since at least three groups are using the nomenclature of the MDF it is very difficult to select the press releases of the genuine one and reject those of two others. Meanwhile, police conducted raids near Dharmasala in the Imphal city today. Police had taken away 19 suspects for verification from among several thousands of youths who were frisked. Sources said that armed police personnel will soon be deployed in the newspaper offices if the threats persist.