Why did Army invite EGI : CJIMore than a question

But why will the Army invite the Editors Guild to come to Manipur. This was the Chief Justice of India and this line of thought is held by many. Remember the taunt of Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami as well as the piece by Jaideep Majumdar in Swarajya among others and things may just become a little clearer. In the very opening sentence of the report of the Fact Finding Mission on Media’s Reportage of the Ethnic Violence in Manipur, the EGI said, ‘The Editors Guild of India (EGI) received several representations that the media in Manipur was playing a partisan role in the ongoing ethnic conflict between the majority Meitei community and the Kuki-Chin minority’. The question is, from whom the ‘several representations’ were received, other than the invite it received from the 3 Corps Headquarters based at Dimapur and which is under the Eastern Command. The three member team of the EGI which visited Manipur from August 7 to 10, has already submitted before the Supreme Court of India that they were in Manipur at the invite of the Army, but as noted earlier here, did not specify from who else they received the ‘several representations’. Or is it a case of just stringing some words together in the report to make it look more credible or a case of the EGI receiving more than one such representation from the Army ? Something is definitely not clear here. Crowd funding is cited as the source of the fund for the trip to Manipur and as a senior journalist of Manipur put it on his Facebook Wall, it will help if any willing individual files a Right to Information application to know who all contributed to the crowd funding drive. Why did EGI thank the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum in a tweet, only to remove it later ? Why did the EGI think it better to file their report on Manipur along with a photograph of the Wall of Remembrance put up by the ITLF ? That this was removed after its incongruity with the ‘supposedly neutral’ report stood out too prominently should tell a significant story. Equally pertinent is the question of what or who guided the Army to reach out to the EGI ? Is EGI, a private organisation, really the right body to approach ? How can the Army lodge a complaint with a private party ? Was the necessary permission to play ‘host’ to the EGI team taken from the higher authority or did it not go higher than Rangapahar ? Since when did the Army become the media watchdog in Manipur and more than obvious that in playing the media watchdog, it over-stepped its brief ‘to aid the civil administration.’
As another young man put up on his Facebook Wall, is it just a coincidence that the highly regarded Kapil Sibal, who is representing the Kukis in the Supreme Court  is also the chosen lawyer for the EGI in the apex Court ? A case of two entities having a common ground, so much so, that they decided to approach the same lawyer or does it say something more ? Only the EGI can answer this, but the very fact that this poser has been raised should say something very significant. Far from studying whether reports in the media have deepened the fissures in society here, the fact finding report of the EGI team has only further muddied the water and none can deny this. As noted in an earlier commentary in this column, the EGI team made known its pre-conceived ideas in its very observation, ‘much before the violence erupted on May 3, Manipur’s tribal tensions, especially between the majority Meitei community and the minority Kuki-Chin-Zo community, were already reaching their boiling point.’ True, tension was already high before May 3 in Churachandpur, but to equate this tension as one between the Meiteis and the Kukis was nothing but fishing in trouble. Whatever tension was there was seen as a protest or a stand against the policies and programmes of the State Government and not as something between two communities. Was the EGI tutored by the elements who lit the first match stick at Torbung on May 3 to hold such an observation ? Don’t pour fuel in the fire that has been razing here for over four months is the line that is best proffered to the EGI.