Home » Ex-MLA and two others denied bail by Manipur HC, accused of fuelling ethnic clashes

Ex-MLA and two others denied bail by Manipur HC, accused of fuelling ethnic clashes

by Jeet Akoijam
0 comment 2 minutes read

The Manipur High Court recently denied bail to three individuals, including a former state MLA named T Thangzalam Haokip, who were arrested for allegedly inciting fresh violence in a neighborhood in Imphal that consists of diverse communities during a period of communal clashes in the state. The HC order and judgement was passed on September 1.
Taking into account the accusations against the defendants, Justice A. Guneshwar Sharma, who presided over the case, observed that the incident had the potential to spark further violence in the area if it had not been prevented in a timely manner by the security forces.
According to the prosecution, on May 22, 2023, the defendants, under the instigation of former MLA T Thangzalam Haokip, arrived at Checkon Tribal Market in Imphal East and disrupted the peace and tranquility of the area by threatening vendors from different ethnic groups to evacuate immediately. The defendants also intimidated women vendors and shopkeepers in the vicinity, demanding the closure of their shops. They allegedly used abusive and hateful language towards women vendors from various communities, leading to high tension in the area. As a result, shops and vendors belonging to different ethnic groups became agitated, and large mobs attempted to enter the New Lambulane area out of anger.
Previously, their bail request had been denied by the trial court. Subsequently, the defendants approached the High Court, arguing that the allegations against them were based on false propaganda stemming from the ongoing conflict in Manipur.
On the other hand, the State Government filed a counter affidavit stating that the defendants had admitted their roles in the alleged offenses. The government expressed concerns that if released on bail, the defendants might directly or indirectly influence or threaten the prosecution witnesses, potentially hindering the investigation.
Additionally, the State Government highlighted that the incident had triggered fresh violence in a sensitive area, leading to an extended curfew being imposed to control the volatile situation. Therefore, the government contended that the defendants should not be granted bail.
Considering the seriousness of the case, the Court noted that the admissibility of the seizure and confessions of the co-accused would be examined during the trial, and it would be premature to consider at the bail stage. The Court also noted that the complaint against the defendants was supported by statements from witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Furthermore, the Court emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of the defendants.
Taking all these factors into account, the Court concluded that there were no appropriate grounds to grant bail to the defendants. Therefore, their bail applications were rejected.
Regarding the plea made regarding the health issues of one of the defendants, the Court clarified that it was not expressing any opinion on his health condition. If advised, he was at liberty to approach the appropriate forum for bail on medical grounds.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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