A popular Manipuri video blogger was remanded to judicial custody on December 17, said Imphal West police chief K Meghachandra Singh. She will be in jail till December 30, when the next hearing is slated, said the police official.
RK Echanthoibi, a critic of the government, has been charged with charged with defamation, causing public mischief, and provoking breach of peace. Singh said the police had filed a suo motu first information report.
In a recent video on YouTube, Echanthoibi criticised Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh for organising celebrations after the Central government’s decision to bring Manipur under the Inner Line Permit regime. She also accused him and the Bharatiya Janata Party government of unfairly claiming credit for what she called a people’s movement.
The Inner Line Permit is a document required by foreigners or non-local Indian citizens to enter places designated “protected areas”. Until recently, the regime covered all of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and most of Nagaland. Over the years, Manipur has seen agitations demanding the same protections.
On December 9, Union Home Minster Amit Shah declared in the Lok Sabha that the Inner Line Permit system would be extended to Manipur to keep the state out of the purview of the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Act seeks to make undocumented non-Muslim migrants of six religions from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for citizenship.
Soon after, the state government announced a holiday the next day to celebrate the “historic occasion”.
In an earlier video, Singh said Echanthoibi had “openly supported” the “government in exile” of Manipur that two people claimed to have set up in the United Kingdom on behalf of the state’s titular king, Leishemba Sanajaoba.
In January, Kishore Chandra Wangkhem, a journalist from the state was booked under the National Security Act and also charged of sedition by the state police for a Facebook video critical of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.