Northeast

Mark Thangmang Haokip bail rejected

The Session Judge, Imphal West on Tuesday rejected bail plea of Mark Thangmang Haokip.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 22 Jun 2022, 5:15 am

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The Session Judge, Imphal West on Tuesday rejected bail of Mark Thangmang Haokip as the court saw a prima facie material for conspiracy to wage war against the nation, even though full-scale activities of recruiting volunteers, procuring arms and ammunition, etc. have not been reached.

The court stated that from the materials on record, including bail report and case diary, it is seen that the accused has been charged with serious offence of waging war against the nation. It is an admitted fact that he was released on bail in FIRs relating to Facebook posts uploaded by the accused. It will be wrong to presume that the present FIR has arisen out of Facebook posts, the court said.

“Nevertheless, there are instances of setting out ideologies, identifying enemies, identifying areas to be covered under the new republic across neighbouring countries, etc. The investigation is at an early stage and many loose ends are to be tightened. At this stage, the court is not inclined to release the accused on bail,” stated the court.

During the bail hearing, counsel of Mark T Haokip submitted that the accused was arrested on the basis of certain Facebook posts uploaded by him. The FIR is registered with the sole motive to confine the accused in custody anyhow, even after his release by the court. Multiple FIRs have been lodged against him for the same posts, the counsel said.

Counsel also submitted the print outs of 6 Facebook posts made by the accused in his dialect along with their translated copies.

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It was pointed out in his post on August 21, 2020, the accused clarified that ‘PDRK’ was created to spread and clarify the Kuki community’s ideology.

In another post on February 14, 2018, the accused was against the idea of creating new militant group and suggested to resort to politics and non-violence to realize their hopes.

It was submitted that these innocuous Facebook posts do not fall within the meaning of any of the offences charged against him. Rather, it is protected by the fundamental right of free speech as enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

The counsel further pointed out that the investigation did not take into consideration the clarifications made by the accused in his 6 Facebook posts.

The counsel, on behalf of the accused, submitted that prima facie materials are not found to attract the grave offence of waging war against nation, etc. There is no investigation in three FIRs lodged against the accused in 2021 by Imphal PS and the fourth one is on fabricated grounds after his release on May 27 in the earlier three FIRs by the Duty Magistrate, the counsel said.

The counsel also submitted, on behalf of the accused, that gravest form of offences under Sections 121 & 121A IPC of accusing him for waging war against the nation have been invoked with ulterior motive to confine the accused anyhow after his release in earlier FIRs based on concocted and fabricated stories.

The step has been taken after the Supreme Court has stayed the oft repeatedly misuse provisions of Section 124A IPC. It also submitted that there are no materials for any of the offences charged against the present accused and pointed out that the accused is a human right activist and is espousing the cause of poor Kuki brethren. He has been framed and implicated in the present case on the instigation of some vested interested persons. His Facebook post of ‘700 square miles’ has been quoted from a research paper and this is not his creation and no offence is made out on this post, added the counsel.

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However, Special PP for the state clarified that in the FIR, the accused is not arrested for uploading Facebook posts. In fact, he is arrested on serious allegations of waging war against India, the PP said and pointed out that the aspect has been discovered recently during the course of extensive investigation that he has formed ‘People’s Democratic Republic of Kukiland’ along with three other persons and he refuses to identify the other members of his group. There are a lot of contributions to his account running into 276 page printouts. It is still in active investigation to track the source of funding and expenditures, the PP stated, adding that there is a strong possibility of its relating to terror funding.

Conspiracy for waging war against the nation is clearly reflected from the website materials of www.kukigovt.com and the entries of the diary seized from the possession of the accused, the PP said.

It is submitted that the accused is a famous social media influencer with a huge fan following and used to upload offensive posts which may cause hatred and dissatisfaction between various groups. His arrest evokes mass scale violent protests by his followers and sympathizers. If released on bail, he is very much likely to continue to post offensive posts on social media and thus will create a hostile atmosphere amongst various communities on ethnic lines. Since the investigation is at an early stage and identities of conspirators are to be established, his release may hamper the progress of investigation.

He was remanded into judicial custody on June 4, 2022 after expiry of a period of police remand. The Session Judge, Imphal West on June 9 remanded Mark Haokip in 13-day judicial custody till June 21.

The OC of Imphal PS submitted that, as per reliable information, the accused Mark Thangmang Haokip, the president of an outfit organisation called ‘Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Kukiland’ [PDRK] is involved in a conspiracy for secession from India and to wage or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the government of India along with three other office bearers, namely, (i) KS Kipgen- secretary (Admin), (ii) Lunkhohao Haokip-secretary, Political Affairs and (iii) CSK Mate- press secretary. He is also involved in spreading propaganda in social media platforms so as to create instability, communal hatred, animosity, inciting violence, false propaganda, etc. so as to achieve the organizational goal of the government of Kukiland.

It stated that the accused is not cooperating in the investigation, taking undue advantage of the CJM/IW barring interrogations in JIC Kangla and has refused to identify three co-conspirators. Huge contribution of funds has been made to his account and suspected to be terror funding. Investigation is going on the source of such funding and its uses.
 

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First published:21 Jun 2022, 2:14 pm

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IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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