HC rejects plea challenging arrest of Manipur student leader in sedition case

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Advisor and former president of Manipur Students’ Association Delhi, Thokchom Veewon

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected a plea challenging arrest and transit remand of Veewon Thokchom, advisor to the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi (MSAD), in connection with a sedition case.

The case was lodged against Thokchom for his comments on the Citizenship Bill on social media.

Justice Sunil Gaur said prima facie it appears the act committed by the accused was an attempt to spread hatred and create disaffection towards the government established by the law.

“Finding no infirmity in the impugned order, this petition and application are accordingly dismissed, while not commenting on the merit of the case,” the court ruled.

Thokchom, arrested in Delhi on February 15, had filed the petition through his brother challenging arrest and transit remand. He was arrested by a joint team of Delhi Police and Manipur Police.

The court granted the transit remand and allowed Manipur Police to take him and present him before a court concerned by February 19.

According to the police, as Thokchom’s messages on social media incited people, an FIR was registered against him under sedition charges.

The police said, “One message said ‘the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will be passed and in such a situation people of Manipur may seek self-determination.’ Thokchom also referred to the incident of ‘June 18, 2001 when the Manipur Assembly complex was burned.'”

He is the second person from Manipur to be arrested on sedition charges in recent times.

Few months ago, Kishore Chandra, a news anchor with a local channel, was arrested for speaking out against a government function to mark the birth anniversary of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, saying she had nothing to do with Manipur.

Though a district and sessions court ordered his release, the Manipur government rearrested him from the court complex and detained him for one-year under the National Security Act.

(IANS)