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Manipur: Charged with sedition, student leader Veewon Thokchom released on bail

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal East, Tuesday granted bail to Veewon Thokchom, citing no sufficient ground to give ‘prima facie’ for charges slapped against him.

Written by Jimmy Leivon | Imphal |
Updated: February 19, 2019 8:22:00 pm
Manipur Student’s Association Delhi (MSAD) advisor Veewon Thokchom at Imphal Airport. (Express photo by Ji)

An Imphal Court Tuesday granted bail to Manipur student leader Veewon Thokchom, who was arrested under charges of sedition for a social media post commenting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal East, Ningthoujam Lanleima, Tuesday granted bail to Thokchom, advisor of Manipur Student’s Association Delhi (MSAD), citing no sufficient ground to give ‘prima facie’ for charges slapped against him.

“People of Manipur know what is wrong and what is right. I am happy with the decision given by the court today,” said Thokchom after his release. He was set free after furnishing a bail bond of Rs 30,000 and under certain conditions.

The student activist was brought to Imphal this afternoon by a team of Imphal East Police the after Delhi High Court Monday dismissed his plea against a four days transit remand, granted by a south Delhi court.

From the Airport he was directly taken to the court of CJM, Imphal East where the additional public prosecutor (APP), told that police custody of the accused is highly required for investigation.

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Thokchom’s counsel, however, raised remand objection on several grounds including that he has not committed any offence except uploading a Facebook post which he already admitted.

Thokchom was charged with sedition for uploading a Facebook post which said, “Indefinite curfew imposed in Manipur. Internet banned for 5 days. All cable network asked not to cover any speech or footage of the protest. High possibility that CAB will be passed today at Rajya Sabha. Manipur once burned down the state Assembly in 2001. Self-determination the only way forward”.

In addition to sedition, police lodged section 153A, 225 IPC for resisting arrest and promoting disharmony.

However, the court said that it did not find sufficient grounds for allowing the remand prayer.

“In the present case, the contents of the Facebook post as mentioned above cannot be stated to bring into hatred or contempt or exercise disaffection towards the government established by law. At most, the accused mentioned the incident of burning of Assembly with approval, but I do not find any attempt or incitement to commit violence. After consideration of the materials on record, I do not find the Facebook post as mentioned above to be prima facie seditious,” said the court’s order.

The court asked the accused to attend in accordance with the bond executed by him and not commit any offence similar to the one he is accused of. The accused shall not directly or indirectly make inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the courts or to the police officers or tamper with the evidence.

Veewon Thokchom, who is also the former advisor of MSAD was arrested by a team of Manipur police from his rented house in Delhi Paryavaran complex Saket last Friday. The former president of MSAD was vocal during the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Manipur.

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