RTI activist arrested in Manipur

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Imphal: The Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR) condemned the arrest of its member and a well known RTI activist, advocate Wahengbam Joykumar, from his residence at Wangkhei Hijam Leirak, Imphal West at round 8:10 pm on January 28, 2023 by personnel of Thoubal police station led by W. Ibocha Singh, SDPO of Thoubal district.

According to a press statement of the CSCHR, two police vehicles packed with security personnel stopped at the residence of Wahengbam Joykumar and tried to enter from the back door of his house. His wife Wahengbam Purnimashi confronted them and asked them to come properly from the main gate, the CSCHR also said. According to the press release, some personnel got inside the courtyard and told his wife to call her husband. Joykumar came out from the house and the security personnel told him that they had come to arrest him in relation to one murder case and asked him to come along with them to answer a few questions.

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Initially the security personnel did not even allow Joykumar to change his dress, the press statement of the CSCHR also said. But after due negotiation, he managed to changed his dress, even as one personnel got inside his room watching him, it added. The security personnel also interrogated his wife and his wife signed an arrest memo. At around 8:21 pm, the security personnel whisked away along with Joykumar, the statement further added.

According to the CSCHR, the arrest memo mentioned the reason for arrest as FIR no. 17(1)2023 TBL PS u/s 307/326/34 IPC and 25(1-8)A Act added 302 IPC. The case is, apparently, in connection to the killing of a BJP functionary, it also said. “The alleged killer, who is also an RTI activist, had made the first call to Joykumar after the killing. According to his wife, the alleged killer is a client of her husband and her husband advised him to duly surrender to the police, which the alleged killer did. Joykumar was reportedly remanded to police custody till February 2, 2023.

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The CSCHR said it believes that advocate Joykumar’s professional and legitimate action of advising his client cannot be construed in any way as criminal conspiracy and that he should be released immediately. “As a well known human rights defender, who has contributed substantially in the public issues of Manipur, he should be treated with due respect and honour,” the CSCHR also said. “He should not be subjected to any form of mental or physically torture, inhumane or degrading treatment while in custody,” the CSCHR added.

NNN

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