Veewon Thokchom after being granted bail by the CJM court

Imphal: The court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West granted bail to Manipuri student activist Veewon Thokchom, who was arrested from New Delhi on charges of sedition. The court at Lamphel, where Thokchom was produced after bringing him from New Delhi, brushed aside the police plea for his custody and released him on furnishing a PR bond of Rs 30,000.

Manipuri student leader Thokchom Veewon

Thokchom’s lawyer Meihoubam Rakesh said that his client, who was preparing for examinations in New Delhi, was arrested on February 15 by a joint team of Delhi and Manipur police from his rented room at Saket in New Delhi on February 15, 2019.

The student leader was secretly produced at Patiala House Court the following day and later, a News agency reported that the bail application applied by the counsel of Veewon was rejected by the Delhi court on Monday. The former president of the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi was arrested under charges of Sedition (Section 124 (A) IPC) and Section 53 IPC.

As Veewon was picked up by civil dressed police team numbering around eight and was pulled up without issuing any warrant to his sister and brother, his family and friends searched for his whereabouts till early morning the following day. As per reports from New Delhi, the sister was given the special cell address and two contact numbers by the cops who came in civil dress.

A former president of MSAD and now an adviser, Thokchom had opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8. Recalling the mass agitations in Manipur on June 18, 2001 during which 18 persons, including a woman had died, he had contended in a Facebook post that if the bill is passed by Parliament, the state’s people may renew demands for self-determination.

There had been demands from various students’ bodies to release Thokchom or face intensified protests from the students and people.

Some time back, the BJP-led state government had arrested Kishorechandra Wangkhem, an anchor with a local cable channel in Manipur, on charges of sedition.

A local court was of view that that the offence he was charged with was not seditious and ordered his release. However, police arrested him again at the court’s door and detained him under the National Security Act for one year. Massive protests from the media circles in India and abroad have been of no avail.

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