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Tehelka Hits The Bull’s Eye With 7/23 BT Road Coverage

NEW DELHI, Nov 17: Weekly magazine Tehelka has been awarded the IPI India Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2010 for outstanding journalistic work.

The Award comprises a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a trophy and a citation to the winner.

The International Press Institute is an active forum of Editors, Publishers and senior Executives of newspapers, magazines and news agencies committed to promotion of free exchange of accurate and balanced news among Nations.

The Jury particularly commended the report by Teresa Rehman on the brutal execution of a youth by security forces in Manipur in broad daylight on July 23, 2009.

The report published along with stunning photographs of the execution was selected for the Award among the entries received by IPI-India.

The Jury noted that “the report had great public impact as even the Chief Minister of Manipur, long after the incident, admitted that he had been misled into making a statement to the contrary. A judicial enquiry was ordered by him and six commandos were placed under suspension’. The Jury was headed by Justice A S Anand, former Chief Justice of India and its members are N Ravi, Editor, The Hindu, Philip Mathew, Managing Editor, Malayala Manorama, M K Razdan, Editor-in-Chief, PTI, and T N Ninan, Editor, Business Standard.

The Award will be presented at a function here next month.

Our Staff Reporter adds from Imphal:

Following the damning photographic evidences published by Tehelka in its August 1 issue, which was subsequently picked up and splashed on the front pages of all Imphal based dailies on August 2, Manipur rose as one to demand justice, more specifically the resignations of Chief Minister O Ibobi, DGP Y Joykumar and all the guilty police commandos.  The vivid pictures of Tehelka showed Sanjit being accosted by the police commandos with the latter not offering any resistance and then being pushed inside Maimu pharmacy. That was the last time that Sanjit was seen alive and moments later, the police claimed that there was an encounter and brought out the lifeless body of the victim from the pharmacy.

Before Sanjit was done to death a young, pregnant housewife was killed in firing on BT Road and the police had floated the story that she was killed by the bullets fired by militants, which in this case obviously meant Sanjit.

After the photographic images, shown in sequences and the story hit the news stand of Manipur, the people rose as one and the State was paralyzed for months on end.

Seeking justice, AMSU and KSA had boycotted classes for nearly four months, dealing a blow to the academic pursuit of many students besides forcing many parents to send their children outside the State for their further studies.

The Chief Minister’s statement, quoting the police report, on the floor of the Assembly regarding the killing of Sanjit, came in for a round of severe criticism while the Opposition parties too were not spared either.

Bowing to immense pressure, the State Government ordered a Judicial Inquiry under Justice (Retd) Agarwal while simultaneously the service of the CBI was also roped in following a directive from the Gauhati High Court, acting on the basis of a complaint filed by the bereaved mother of Sanjit.

So far, the CBI has charge sheeted nine police commandos including two Inspectors.

The accused cops were produced before the Court of the CJM where a charge hearing was held.

All accused are presently out on bail.

The Judicial Inquiry is still on and in an interesting twist, Teresa Rehman, who filed the story, appealed that she be allowed to depose in Gauhati instead of Imphal, as there was an element of risk. Rehman had also stated that she had received calls from unidentified persons.  The issue ended somewhat like an anti-climax, with the Apunba Lup coming to a point of agreement, which many saw and interpreted as a complete sell out of public interest.  Justice (Retd) Agarwal is yet to submit his final findings to the Govt.

(Courtesy: Press Trust of India)

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