Updated 4 Aug 2022, 3:29 pm
Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on Wednesday remanded the arrested five members of All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) in police custody for four days till August 6.
They were picked up by Imphal West police Tuesday morning ahead of its proposed bandh called to press for tabling and passing of the Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill, 2021 recommended by the Hill Areas Committee.
In the evening, they were arrested and ATSUM had imposed an emergency bandh demanding immediate release of its members.
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The arrested members have been identified as Paotinthang Lupheng, 45, son of Paohao Lupheng from Khomunnom Village, Churachandpur; Andria Sinruwang, 36, son of SR Ngamdil from Unopat Village, Chandel district; Khaiminlen Doungel, 35, son of Douthang Doungel from Hengjang Leimakhong, Kangpokpi district; Marankhai Awungshi, 31, son of AS Wungkato from Tashar Village, Ukhrul presently staying at Nagaram Imphal and John H Pulamte, 51, son of late Lalthlunglien from Rengkai, Churachandpur district and presently staying at Zone III, National Game Village, Imphal West.
The investigating officer submitted that calling of bandh/blockade or enforcement of bandh/blockade are offences of criminal conspiracy under section 120-A IPC punishable under 120-B(2) IPC and Section 503 and 506 IPC. It shall also amount to commission of offence under Section 141 IPC and punishable under section 143 IPC.
It was alleged that the accused persons have criminally conspired to impose an economic blockade in the hill districts of Manipur and circulated statements/reports which has put many people in fear and disturbed the public peace. It was submitted that the said blockade had wrongfully restrained many persons, including passengers and other commercial vehicles plying in the highways.
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The legal aid counsel appearing for the accused submitted that it is unclear as to the said offence being committed by the accused persons and there is no prima facie material. It was submitted that even the grounds and reason for arrest remain unclear. The counsel prayed for releasing the accused persons on bail “as the arrest is on flimsy grounds.”
Concerning the allegations raised by the arrested persons that the arrest memo was prepared on Wednesday itself prior to their production before the court though the prosecutors said that they were arrested on Tuesday evening, the court directed the OC of the concerned Police station to submit a detailed report regarding the procedure irregularities as aforementioned and place the said report within the next 48 hours.
Underscoring the importance of investigation in dispensation of justice, the judge ordered remanding them into police custody for four days till August 6.
The investigating officer was also directed to submit Covid test report and provide necessary medical aid to the accused persons as and when required.
First published:3 Aug 2022, 4:51 pm
ATSUMHACADC BillATSUM leaders