New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that Manipuri activist Erendro Leichhombam, who was arrested and charged under the National Security Act for a Facebook post stating that cow urine does not cure COVID-19 and criticizing BJP leaders for spreading misinformation, must be released immediately.
“He cannot be held in prison for a day. We will order his release today,” a bench of judges DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said, according to Bar and sofa.
“We believe that continued detention of the petitioner would be a violation of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. We therefore recommend that the petitioner be released immediately subject to preliminary instructions from this court and subject to further injunctions and him filing a personal bail of Rs. 1,000,” the court ordered.
The order must be fulfilled today on or before 5 p.m., the bank insisted.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta wanted the case to be listed tomorrow, but the bank said it would provide temporary relief today.
In his plea to the Supreme Court, Erendro’s father L. Raghumani Singh said the BJP wanted to retaliate against the activist for his critical Facebook posts. “Erendro, a political activist from Manipuri, has been detained on a pre-emptive basis solely to punish him for criticizing Bhartiya Janta Party (“BJP”) leaders for advocating cow dung and cow urine as remedies for COVID,” it said. the petition.
Speak with The wire, the Supreme Court lawyer of the petitioner Shadan Farasat said: “By ordering his immediate release, the SC has prima facie agreed with the petitioner’s contention that this was not at all a case where the power of preventive detention could have been exercised.” The case will also be heard by the highest court tomorrow.
Erendro Leichombam, a 2012 Harvard Kennedy School graduate, has been incarcerated in Manipur’s Sajjwa Prison since May 13, along with Imphal-based journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem for their Facebook commentary depicting the death of the state BJP president. Condolences to S. Tikendra Singh due to COVID. -19 on May 13. In these posts, they also emphasized that while Singh’s party members advocate cow urine and cow dung as remedies for the virus, it is science and common sense that can save people from the pandemic.
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Before hitting the NSA on both of them, the state police accused them of causing “social unrest” for pointing out that science and common sense can save someone from COVID-19, not cow urine and cow dung as spread by several BJP officials. men.
On May 17, a local court in Imphal released them on bail, but attorney Victor Chongtham said that before he could prepare the relevant papers to request their release, the state slammed the NSA on them, led by the Imphal West District Magistrate, Th. Kirankumar, to hold them. Since then, the duo has been held in Sajjwa Prison on the outskirts of Imphal.
The Subdistrict Court, Th. Kirankumar, in his official letters to Kishorchandra and Erendro on May 19, listed a number of reasons why he had ordered their detention under the NSA.
For Erendro, Kirankumar began arresting him by the Manipur Police in May 2018. The DM quoted that one of his crimes then was:
“One video clip (that was) uploaded protesting you and team against the existing government by throwing eggs on posters of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, the then VC (Vice Chancellor) of University of Manipur, Shri AP Pandey, Shri N. Biren Singh, Honorable Prime Minister of Manipur, Shri Syamkesho, Registrar of Manipur University and Shri Yugindro, pro-VC of Manipur University, displayed on a gate wall”.
Citing Erendro’s latest Facebook upload where he says, “The cure for Corona isn’t cow dung and cow urine. The cure is science and common sense. Professor ji RIP,” said Kirankumar:
“Your statement conveys or attempts to incite hatred or contempt, or incite or attempt to incite displeasure against the government enacted law in India, recite or use obscene words on social media, and thereby deliberately insult religious feelings and sentiments of the BJP employees and relatives on the occasion of the death of the President of BJP Manipur Pradesh, namely the late Professor S. Tikendra Singh…”
This was not the first time the N. Biren Singh government came after Erendro. In July 2020, the state police had filed a case of sedition (124A) against Erendro for a Facebook comment. Although the state police had not yet indicated which comment they found problematic, it was suspected that Erendro’s comment, minai macha (son of a servant), from a photo with S. Leishemba, the former king of Manipur and now a Rajya Sabha member with the support of the BJP, bowing to the national leader of the BJP, Amit Shah, Biren Singh angered the government.
Before that, in May 2018, Erendro was arrested for posting a video on Facebook that police claimed “promotes hostility between different groups and criminal harassment”. He was released by a local court in June 2018.