iNDICA NEWS BUREAU & AGENCIES
Authorities in Manipur, a state in the northeast of India, have reportedly charged a journalist and an activist under the National Security Act after they wrote on Facebook that “cow dung and cow urine do not work” while referring to the death from Covid-19 of a BJP politician.
Officials said that Imphal West district magistrate Th Kirankumar late on Monday night passed two separate orders charging the journalist, Wangkhem Wangthpi, 41, also known as Kishorchandra, and Leichombam Erendro, 40, under the stringent law.
After state BJP president Saikhom Tikendra Singh died on May 13, the journalist and the activist had posted comments in Manipuri saying “cow dung and cow urine do not work”.
They were arrested the same day.
In his orders, the district magistrate said that as the two are likely to be released on bail in the near future and would resume activities which are prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintenance of public order, hence they should be prevented from carrying out such activities through an alternative preventive measures.
The maximum period for which one may be detained under the NSA is 12 months, and the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.
On Monday, the Imphal chief judicial magistrate granted bail to both the persons on the execution of a personal recognizance bond of Rs 50,000 each with “a surety bond of a like amount” on condition the duo would not repeat a “similar offense in future” and be available for interrogation by the investigating officer as and when required.
A police official told IANS that the journalist and activist were arrested on May 13 from their homes on the basis of a complaint filed against them by Manipur state BJP vice president Usham Deban party General Secretary P. Premananda Meetei.
The complaint said that Kishorchandra and Leichombam posted “offensive comments”
The two had been arrested twice earlier on charges of sedition and for posts on social media against the government. Rights activists and various Manipur-based organizations and elsewhere in India had then criticized the government for overreacting.
Leichombam is the founder of the People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance, a political party whose candidate in the 2017 Manipur elections included rights activist Irom Sharmila.
He had also unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls in 2017.