Veewon Thokchom, former president of Manipur Student’s Association Delhi (MSAD), who was arrested by a joint team of Manipur and Delhi police Friday, has been booked under sedition after his Facebook comments on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill allegedly incited violence, Manipur police said on Saturday.
K Meghchandra, Superintendent of Police Imphal East district, during a press conference in Imphal told the media that as a preliminary investigation, the police team established that deliberate planning was made by Thokchom and his associates to “spread hatred, incited violence” during the agitation against the Bill in Manipur.
“In one of the messages, he urged the people to intensify agitation, burnt properties and even confront with some political parties when there was a curfew in Imphal. Besides that he has also mentioned in one of his post that right to self-determination was the only solution,” said Meghachandra.
Meghachandra said that the district police lodged an FIR under 124A IPC (sedition) against the student leader last Tuesday. The FIR was lodged following a formal complaint received from the Superintendent of Police CID (Crime Branch) intimating to take necessary action against Thokchom, based on a report submitted by the cyber crime police station Manipur, he said. In addition to sedition, police have lodged section 153A, 225 IPC for resisting arrest and promoting disharmony, he said.
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 by relaxing the eligibility rules for an immigrant — belonging to six minority (non-Muslim) religions, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan — in getting Indian citizenship. Many in the Northeast hold the Bill to be a threat to the indigenous people of the region. Passed in the Lok Sabha last month, the Bill was scheduled to be table in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday but was not as the House got adjourned.
Recently, just before the Bill lapsed, Manipur witnessed extensive protests against the Bill. Manipur journalist, Kishorchandra Wangkhem was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) in December last year for allegedly making derogatory comments against the Chief Minister Biren Singh and uploading controversial videos criticising the BJP-led Manipur government for observing Rani of Jhansi’s birth anniversary.
A Delhi court on Saturday granted three-day remand to the Manipur Police so that they may seek the Aviation Department’s permission to take Veewon to Manipur. The court also ordered that Veewon be produced at Manipur on or before February 19. The North East State Organisation (NESO) in a statement urged the Government stop gagging the dissent voices of students.