Legal action targets key officials for alleged incitement in Manipur

Legal action has been set into motion in Manipur following a formal complaint filed on September 8, 2023, accusing the head of the Department of Law at Manipur...

Legal action has been set into motion in Manipur following a formal complaint filed on September 8, 2023, accusing the head of the Department of Law at Manipur University Dr. Yumnam Premananda Singh and Noutuneshwari, a retired District and Sessions Judge in Manipur, of engaging in provocative and inciting speech.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Churachandpur took cognizance of the criminal complaint against the accused(s) by Tuanmuanson of Lamka on 8 September2023.

According to the extract court copy, an event organized by the Federation of Civil Society Organisations on July 30, 2023, in Imphal, was the focal point for the allegations.

The accused(s), Dr. Yumnam Premananda Singh, made a provocative and inciting speech during the one-day people’s convention that took place organized under the theme “Punshilasi eikhoi ima leibakidamak,” meaning “Let’s unite for our motherland”.

Dr. Yumnam Premananda Singh, is alleged to have delivered remarks that suggest wartime should not be a platform for political discourse but rather a time for the use of arms to eliminate adversaries. Furthermore, he purportedly called upon the general public to dismantle buffer zones housing the Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

The other accused, Noutuneshwari, retired District and Sessions Judge in Manipur, had also allegedly incited and inflamed attendees during the same gathering. She is said to have encouraged them to embark on marches and attempts to storm into Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Moreh, all while wearing traditional combat dresses.

In the light of recent events in the state, these allegations have given rise to considerable concern, as it may be recalled that more than 40 individuals sustained injuries near Torbung, a buffer zone, during an attempt to storm Churachandpur District on September 6, 2023.

Subsequently, on September 8, 2023, reports emerged of multiple Kuki-Zomi tribal residences and shops in Pallel being set ablaze by Meitei mobs.

The release stated that the formal complaint has prompted the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Churachandpur to acknowledge the matter and take it seriously. The accused Dr. Yumnam Premananda Singh and Noutuneshwari now find themselves facing a series of charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including promoting enmity between different groups, making imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration, issuing statements conducive to public mischief, and criminal intimidation.

The court has also issued instructions for the police to initiate thorough investigations into the involvement of other individuals implicated in the complaint. A comprehensive report on these developments is expected to be presented by October 9, 2023.

In a latest development, Imphal has been gripped by tension since Tuesday night. Police reported that protests over the deaths of two students from the Meitei community persisted well into the late hours in certain areas of the city. According to authorities, around 25-30 demonstrators suffered injuries during police intervention, which included the firing of tear gas shells on Tuesday afternoon. These incidents occurred as hundreds of students took to the streets, demanding justice for the deceased students.

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