IMPHAL, Jan 5: Vice president and spokesman of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editor of Sanaleibak daily Ahongsangbam Mobi, who was arrested by Imphal West District Police Commandos on alleged charge of having links with UGs, was granted bail by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal today.
The Court granted bail in consideration of the fact that Sanaleibak daily may remain out of print if its editor continues to remain under police custody and it would amount to denial of information to the people as well as in consideration of the health condition of Mobi.
On getting information that Mobi would be produced before the court of CJM Imphal, his family members as well as media persons waited inside the court campus since 12.30 pm today.
At around 3 pm, Mobi was finally produced before the Court.
During the Court proceedings, the counsel of the police charged Mobi under section 20 and 17 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and contended that Mobi has links with one terrorist group and is involved in raising funds as a member. As the Court ruled that the charges under section 20 of UAP would not be substantiated with evidences, the police counsel pleaded that even if charges under section 20 have been lifted, charges under section 17 UAP should remain. The police counsel informed that court that police have been apprised by the proprietor of Manipur Thoubal Gas, Singjamei about the pressure given for meeting the monetary demand of one KCP group and Mobi was arrested after establishing his nexus with the UG group and involvement in the case. Maintaining there are various circumstance development, the police counsel explained to the court that Mobi was arrested not as the vice president of AMWJU.
On the other hand, the counsel of the accused pleaded the court for granting bail to Mobi in consideration of his responsibility as the editor of Sanaleibak daily. After hearing both the parties, the court approved the bail application. However, the court has directed the appearance of the accused in the office of the IO every Sundays.
Talking to mediapersons while coming out from the court room, Mobi said that he is innocent and would continue to fight for justice. He also dared to give up his profession as a journalist, if he is found guilty. Counsel of the accused told media-persons that informed that no evidences would be substantiated in connection with the allegation of ‘being a member of terrorist group’ under Section 20 of UAP. However, there is primae facie evidence in connection with the allegation under section 17. Demanding release of Mobi unconditionally, members of AMWJU yesterday took out a rally from Manipur Press Club to Keishampat where they continued with sit-in-protest demonstration. While the protest demonstration was underway, a delegation of AMWJU went to meet Governor Gurbachan Jagat and submitted a memorandum highlighting the demand for unconditional release of Mobi and other difficulties being faced by the journalists in Manipur. Meanwhile, National Federation of Newspapers Employees (NFNE) has extended moral support to the agitating journalists of Manipur and urged the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh led Govt to take appropriate actions so that journalists in Manipur can perform their duties without any fear. Condemning the arrest of editor Mobi by the police comandos, Ukhrul District Working Journalists’ Union has announced its support to any future course of agitation taken up by AMWJU in this regard.