Violence broke out in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on Wednesday, a day after human rights activist Mark Thangmang Haokip was arrested in Delhi for a Facebook post, North East Now reported.
Haokip was arrested from his home in connection with the post about Manipur’s merger agreement, The Indian Express reported. The agreement pertains to a deal between the king of the princely state of Manipur to join India in 1949.
Haokip, the president of the International Human Rights Association’s state unit, had failed to respond to the summons issued by the police in connection with the case.
The Manipur Police have charged Haokip under Indian Penal Code sections 153(A) for promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and 505(2) for making statements conducing to public mischief, said Superintendent of Police Imphal West district Shivakanta Singh.
On Wednesday, Haokip’s supporters gathered in Churachandpur town and demanded that he be immediately released.
The protestors allegedly hurled stones at security forces when they were stopped from marching towards the deputy commissioner’s office. The police fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd, according to The Times of India.
Over 10 protestors and three policemen were injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, the police have banned gathering of more than five people under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
In a statement, the human rights body alleged that that the protest was peaceful until the crowd was stopped by the police. Despite repeated requests, the district authorities had refused to give permission for the protest, said Mang Vaiphei, member of the International Human Rights Association.
The human rights body also said that Section 153(A) has been “gravely misused” by the Manipur government, reported The Indian Express.
“The arrest at most is an apparent bias of the government of Manipur against the Kukis, implicit in the majoritarian shift of Manipur government towards a Meitei-centric Government,” read the statement.
It also questioned why groups who promote enmity between communities by describing Kukis as foreigners have not been arrested instead.