Journalists go back to work as Mobi released on bail

A Mobi, Editor of vernacular daily Sanaleibal waving to well wishers upon his release in front of a court in Imphal on Wednesday, January 5. (NNN Photo)
Imphal, January 5 (NNN): The much ‘maligned’ editor of Sanaleibak, Ahongshangbam Mobi, who is also the spokesperson and vice president of the media conglomerate of the State, All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), has been released on bail following his appearance before the magistrate of Cheirap court in Imphal today.
The senior journalist was arrested on the morning of December 29 from outside his office in Tedim road in Imphal by two civvies of Imphal West police commandos on alleged charges of acting as intercessor between the proscribed Kangleipak Communist Party-Tabungba (KCP-T) faction and the extorted entities. The journalist fraternity has vehemently rubbished the charges as "baseless" and "fabricated" and has gone on a cease work strike since then with newspapers in the State not hitting the stands.
The editor has been released today at about 4:30pm on medical ground with a bond bail of Rs. 50,000. Advocate Bikramjit Singh, appearing for A. Mobi, pleaded and move the court for bail citing medical reason of diabetes and hypertension. While his bail application has been accepted, the accused has been asked to appear before the court as the trial progresses.  Mobi has been charged with section 17 of Unlawful Prevention Act for raising funds for the underground outfit and section 20 for being a member of a "terrorist group".
The advocate of Mobi argued in the court against the allegation of section 20 leveled against the accused journalist as totally "wrong" and that the police have not been able to substantiate by producing evidence to their claim.
In a briefing after the hearing, Bikramjit said that media persons in the State are in constant threat and pressure from both the state (police) and non-state (underground outfits) actors to remain gagged which is a bane of democratic free press.  He also probe pertinently that if Mobi was arrested red handed as the police have claimed he was, why are the underground activists who had gone to deliver the money not being arrested?
Ahongshangbam Mobi, speaking to the press, said that he has been subjected to mental harassment by the police by not providing him food today and having him sign on unidentified papers under duress at some undisclosed location. He said he has emerged from the ordeal as a wiser man.
"I have tolerated all the harassments as professional hazard. One important lesson that I have leant during my 7-day incarceration is that proper conversation between the hill and the valley population can help mitigate the divide between the two. I had the chance to clear up some misunderstanding that persists between us." The case will now progress to trial and I will emerge innocent, said the jaded journalist.