January 18, 2021 4:18:29 am
Two editors of a Manipuri news portal were Sunday arrested on sedition and terror-related charges under the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over the publication of an article criticising the state’s militancy movement.
Imphal West SP K Meghachandra Singh confirmed the arrest of Frontier Manipur executive editor Paojel Chaoba. He did not comment on the arrest of editor-in-chief Dhiren Sadokpam. Their lawyer, Chongtham Victor, however, told The Indian Express that both have been arrested.
The two journalists have been charged under IPC Sections 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 505(b) (causing alarm to induce offence against the state), and 34 (common intention), as well as the UAPA’s Section 39 (supporting terror organisation).
The article, Revolutionary journey in a mess, has been written by one M Joy Luwang. It was published on January 8. The suo moto FIR registered by the Manipur Police names Luwang and the editors as the accused.
According to the FIR, “the author… endorsed revolutionary ideologies and activities and expressed… dismay at the deteriorating character of the armed revolutionary leaders of Manipur in the recent decade”.
“His article clearly expressed sympathy and support to the ideologies and activities of the armed revolutionary groups and outrightly called the rule of law of the Union and State government as colonial law…,” it said.
There have been multiple cases in Manipur against those seen as speaking against the ruling dispensation.
In July last tear, a sedition case was filed against Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam over a Facebook post.
In 2020, Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Mohammad Chingiz Khan and Gauhati University assistant professor Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan were charged with sedition after a translation of their old opinion article on issues faced by Manipuri Muslims appeared in a local newspaper.
In late 2018, Kishorchandra Wangkhem (39), was detained for four-and-a-half months under NSA for allegedly derogatory comments against the BJP government in the state and CM N Biren Singh. —With Inputs from Jimmy Leivon, Imphal