Imphal, Feb 17,
Veewon Thokchom, who was arrested on sedition charge from his rented room at Delhi was produced to Saket Court secretly in the morning before protestors and activists reached court premises. This was stated by a statement of Faculty Association of Ambedkar University Delhi (AUDFA).
The AUDFA further stated that, Until 10 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019, there was no confirmation that he was given access to any lawyer nor have we received any details on what he has been charged for.
SP of Imphal East in a press briefing stated that Veewon was arrested on grounds of making ‘anti-national’ statements on social media and was remanded to four-day custody at Saket PS.
Veewon Thokchom, who was a former student of Ambedkar University Delhi was arrested by a team of Delhi Police and Manipur Police from his rented house at Saket in the presence of his siblings on Friday evening, February 15, 2019. There was no warrant issued at the time of arrest and not a single reason provided thereafter. The manner in which he was taken to Janakpuri Police Station has led to concerned lawyers suspecting that he could have been charged for ‘sedition’, based on his Facebook status against the newly drafted Citizenship Amendment Bill (2016) and his active involvement in protests against the same. He had also actively participated in protests against the arrest of a Manipur journalist in November, 2018. The nature of his arrest once again draws attention to the government’s disgraceful record in defending freedom of speech and expression. His Facebook status on 12th February, 2019 revealed that police has been harassing his parents and family members by raiding his house in Imphal and checking his room in his absence.
AUDFA expressed strong condemnation to the arrest of Veewon and demanded that he be given access to lawyers so that his case can be defended under the purview of the law of the land through proper scrutiny of evidence placed against him.
“As faculty and researchers, we express our outrage at this most blatant violation of rights to dissent enshrined in the Constitution. It would be no exaggeration to see this act as a blow to India’s claim as a democracy and the increasing hold of right-wing paranoia that has gripped the nation-state. AUDFA welcomes all concerned forums, rights bodies, individuals and the international community to come together and defend Veewon’s democratic rights” , AUDFA said.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.