Imphal, May 25 2022: A team of Manipur police arrested Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip (37) aka Mark T Haokip , a human rights activist from Kishangarh, Delhi at around 2.30 pm on May 24, 2022 in connection with three FIRs registered against him.
Mark Thangmang Haokip who is the President of International Human Rights Association (IHRA) Manipur was summoned to appear before the Investigating Officer, Churachandpur Police Station for recording a statement on May 22 in connection with FIR No.74(07)2022, Churachandpur police station under section 153-A/505(2) IPS. However, he failed to turn up.
A case was filed against him under 153-A IPC for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. He is also charged under Section 505 IPC for making statements conducing to public mischief. Under this section, whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create or promote, or which is likely to create or promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both, the source maintained.
The source said that the individual has been usually or habitually uploading sensational information on his Facebook account likely to instigate violence on various sensitive issues in the State.
Sensational Social Media Post by Mark T Haokip
Mark T Haokip uploaded a ‘sensational’ information on Facebook On July 27, 2021 that reads, “The truth about Maharaja of Manipur merged his kingdom into the Union of India is also well recorded and published by Brigadier Sushil Kumar Sharma in his book the Complexities of Tribal Land Rights and Conflict in Manipur: Issues and Recommendations.” Five days back, on July 22, he posted, “Does Maharaja Sanajaoba Leisemba forget the actual size of their kingdom merger into the Union of India? Tell him it was just only 700 sq. miles.”
About 13 days back, on July 9, he wrote, “The Inner Manipur, which is geographically about 700 sq. mile was annexed into the Union of India by Maharaja of Manipur (L) Bodha Chandra Singh through the very hand of V.P. Menon, the then adviser to the Government of India, Ministry of State on behalf of the Dominion of India on September 21, 1949 in Shillong. In as much, the inclusion of Outer Manipur (Hill Area), about 7,921 sq. miles, into Manipur State in 1972, when Manipur became a Part-C State, is politically illogical since the Kuki Chiefs were unconsulted and, no evidence of agreement with the Government of India is available”.
Complaint and FIR
Denouncing such Facebook posts, Kangleipak Kanba Lup lodged a complaint with the Porompat Police Station on July 24, 2021 demanding to take legal action against Mark T Haokip.
The Federation of Haomee (FoH) and Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL) reportedly filed an FIR against the IHRA, Manipur Chapter president on the charge of creating enmity amongst the people on social media. Mark Thangmang Haokip was arrested on the charge of uploading ‘sensational information’ on his Facebook account that may incite communal flare up in the State
Dr Mark T Haokip (37), son of M Limkhosei Haokip of Molnom village in Churachandpur is the president of the International Human Rights Association, Manipur Chapter.
He was arrested a day after the International Human Rights Association, Manipur Chapter and its Sadar Hills and Tengnoupal district branches condemned the FIRs registered against him and demanded immediate revocation.
On May 22, the Officer-in-Charge of Churachandpur Police Station summoned Mark T Haokip, IHRA, Manipur Chapter president to appear before the Investigation Officer, Churachandpur for recording a statement in connection with FIR No.74(07)2022 CCP-PS u/s 153-A/505(2) IPS. The summon, however, was objected strongly by a group of people and they staged a protest in front of Churachandpur police station, during which five protesters were arrested some days back.
Denouncing the arrest, protest rallies were taken out in various hill districts today including Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi districts.
At Churachandpur, a huge crowd gathered at KIC complex today to protest the arrest of the activist. The planned protest rally which organiser said was meant to be a peaceful one turned ugly around noon as the local police and the gathering crowd came to a violent standoff.
Sources said the protesters demanding the release of Haokip tried to first assemble at Peace Ground but it was foiled by the police.
Thereafter, the public again assembled at Tuibuong community hall inspite of the police obstruction to go for the rally and even assemble there. It became evident that necessary permission to hold a rally would not be coming forth, the stand-off between police and protesters became heated around noon.As protesters continued chanting slogans demanding the release of Mark Haokip and shouted, ‘We want Justice,’ and tried to make their way into the streets, the police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.
The police action was immediately returned with stones leading to a violent clash.
The police even resorted to firing in the air but the crowd regrouped to attack the police, forcing them to eventually retreat.
As many as 15 protesters reportedly suffered injuries in the melee while some police personnel too have been beaten up by the protesters.
At least two of the injured are said to be serious.
The protesters then set up road blocks and closed shops throughout the town disrupting normal life for the day.
The situation improved later in the evening as the Deputy Commissioner and representatives of the protesting crowd met at the DC office.
It is learnt that the latter has submitted a memorandum.
A number of Kangpokpi residents staged a protest at Kangpokpi town today demanding release of human rights activist Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip who was arrested from Delhi yesterday.
With situation still volatile, the District Magistrate promulgated restrictions by invoking section CrPC 144.At Kangpokpi, hundreds of protesters congregated at Brig M Thomas ground protesting the arrest and demanded unconditional and immediate release of Dr Mark Haokip.
The protesters also chanted slogans such as “Release Dr Mark Haokip”, and displayed placards that read, “Is the Constitution still alive”, “We fight for justice, not unlawful arrest”, “Justice for Dr.Mark”, “Where is Law?”, “Where is equality”, etc.
Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC has been clamped in and around Brig M Thomas ground Kangpokpi by Additional District Magistrate while a team of Kangpokpi police led by Addl SP (LO) Kangpokpi Tholu Rocky, Addl SP (Ops) Kangpokpi Abul Kalam, and DSP of Gamnom Saparmeina police station, Sheimang Khongsai have been monitoring the situation.
Reportedly, a few protesters were allowed to submit their representation addressed to Governor La Ganesan through the District Magistrate/DC Kangpokpi and the representation was submitted in the name of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur (COPTRM) .
The committee in its representation apprised the Governor of the arrest of the IHRA Manipur Chapter president and demanded his immediate release.
It also stated that the Indian Penal Code IPC 153(A) has gravely been misused by the State Government in the arrest of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip.
It also alleged that it was the Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup that incited hatred toward minority tribes in the State but they were neither summoned nor arrested for instigating hatred and animosity among the people in Manipur.
It also said that the case against Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip is unambiguously a fitting reply about the call of Kukis as foreigners and refugees.
The arrest is an infringement upon the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression which is enshrined under Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution, the memorandum said and asked the Governor to acknowledge the ‘unlawful arrest’ of Mark Thangmang Haokip and release him forthwith.
It also appealed to the Governor to stop all derogatory statements against the Kukis by non-tribal communities and it is a punishable offence under the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 .
Speaking to the media, Mangboi Haokip, convenor of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur, said that Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip was arrested for giving a reply to the Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup which allegedly tagged Kukis as foreigners and refugees. He also urged the State Government to book Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup under relevant laws.
Meanwhile, Kuki Women Union Sadar Hills president, Mawinu said that the arrest of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip clearly shows that there is no meaning of “Chingmi Tammi Amatani” under the present State Government.
She also said that Kuki women will launch a larger protest if Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip is not released.
Lalboi Haokip, a member of the IHRA Youth Wing also sought immediate intervention of the BJP Central leaders to ensure unconditional release of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip and revoke the FIR registered against him.
He said that they are not safe under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh. A massive protest rally was also held at the Chingdai area in Kangpokpi district.