CCpur, KPI erupt in protest against arrest of Mark
Source: The Sangai Express

Kpi/CCpur, May 25 2022: A number of Kangpokpi people staged a protest at Kangpokpi town today demanding release of human rights activist Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip who was arrested from Delhi yesterday.

Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip (37), son of M Limkhosei Haokip of Molnom village in Churachandpur is the president of the International Human Rights Association, Manipur Chapter.

A team of Manipur police led by SI Ch Somorjit Singh arrested the human rights activist from his temporary Kishangarh, Delhi residence yesterday at around 2.30 pm in connection with three FIRs registered against him last year, viz FIR No 60(4)2021 IPS, FIR No.108(7)2021, and FIR No.205(11)2021 .

He was arrested barely a day after the International Human Rights Association, Manipur Chapter and its Sadar Hills and Tengnoupal district branches condemned the FIRs registered against him and demanded immediate revocation.

CCpur, KPI erupt in protest against arrest of Mark
CCpur, KPI erupt in protest against arrest of Mark

Mention may be made that the Federation of Haomee (FoH) and Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL) reportedly filed an FIR against the IHRA, Manipur Chapter president on the charge of creating enmity amongst the people on social media.

On May 22, the Officer-in-Charge of Churachandpur Police Station summoned the IHRA, Manipur Chapter president to appear before the Investigation Officer, Churachandpur for recording a statement in connection with FIR No.74(07)2022 CCP-PS u/s 153-A/505(2) IPS.

The summon, however, was objected strongly by a group of people and they staged a protest in front of Churachandpur police station, during which five protesters were arrested some days back.

Denouncing the arrest, protest rallies were taken out in various hill districts today including Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi districts.

Surprisingly, after the arrest of the IHRA, Manipur Chapter president, an arrest memo inscribed with "We did it, Boss!" and "Mark Haokip has been finally arrested" was posted on a Facebook group named Meitei Rights Protection.

At Churachandpur, a huge crowd gathered at KIC complex today to protest the arrest of the activist.

However the planned protest rally which organiser said was meant to be a peaceful one turned ugly around noon as the local police and the gathering crowd came to a violent standoff.

Sources said the protesters demanding the release of Haokip tried to first assemble at Peace Ground but it was foiled by the police.

Thereafter, the public again assembled at Tuibuong community hall inspite of the police obstruction to go for the rally and even assemble there.

As it became evident that necessary permission to hold a rally would not be coming forth, the stand-off between police and protesters became heated around noon.

As protesters continued chanting slogans demanding the release of Mark Haokip and shouted, 'We want Justice,' and tried to make their way into the streets, the police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.

The police action was immediately returned with stones leading to a violent clash.

The police even resorted to firing in the air but the crowd regrouped to attack the police, forcing them to eventually retreat.

As many as 15 protesters reportedly suffered injuries in the melee while some police personnel too have been beaten up by the protesters.

At least two of the injured are said to be serious.

The protesters then set up road blocks and closed shops throughout the town disrupting normal life for the day.

The situation improved later in the evening as the Deputy Commissioner and representatives of the protesting crowd met at the DC office.

It is learnt that the latter has submitted a memorandum.

With situation still volatile, the District Magistrate promulgated restrictions by invoking section CrPC 144.At Kangpokpi, hundreds of protesters congregated at Brig M Thomas ground protesting the arrest and demanded unconditional and immediate release of Dr Mark Haokip.

The protesters also chanted slogans such as "Release Dr Mark Haokip", and displayed placards that read, "Is the Constitution still alive", "We fight for justice, not unlawful arrest", "Justice for Dr.Mark", "Where is Law?", "Where is equality", etc.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC has been clamped in and around Brig M Thomas ground Kangpokpi by Additional District Magistrate while a team of Kangpokpi police led by Addl SP (LO) Kangpokpi Tholu Rocky, Addl SP (Ops) Kangpokpi Abul Kalam, and DSP of Gamnom Saparmeina police station, Sheimang Khongsai have been monitoring the situation.

Reportedly, a few protesters were allowed to submit their representation addressed to Governor La Ganesan through the District Magistrate/DC Kangpokpi and the representation was submitted in the name of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur (COPTRM) .

The committee in its representation apprised the Governor of the arrest of the IHRA Manipur Chapter president and demanded his immediate release.

It also stated that the Indian Penal Code IPC 153(A) has gravely been misused by the State Government in the arrest of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip.

It also alleged that it was the Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup that incited hatred toward minority tribes in the State but they were neither summoned nor arrested for instigating hatred and animosity among the people in Manipur.

It also said that the case against Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip is unambiguously a fitting reply about the call of Kukis as foreigners and refugees.

The arrest is an infringement upon the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression which is enshrined under Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution, the memorandum said and asked the Governor to acknowledge the 'unlawful arrest' of Mark Thangmang Haokip and release him forthwith.

It also appealed to the Governor to stop all derogatory statements against the Kukis by non-tribal communities and it is a punishable offence under the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 .

Speaking to the media, Mangboi Haokip, convenor of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur, said that Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip was arrested for giving a reply to the Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup which allegedly tagged Kukis as foreigners and refugees.

He also urged the State Government to book Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup under relevant laws.

Meanwhile, Kuki Women Union Sadar Hills president, Mawinu said that the arrest of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip clearly shows that there is no meaning of "Chingmi Tammi Amatani'' under the present State Government.

She also said that Kuki women will launch a larger protest if Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip is not released.

Lalboi Haokip, a member of the IHRA Youth Wing also sought immediate intervention of the BJP Central leaders to ensure unconditional release of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip and revoke the FIR registered against him.

He said that they are not safe under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

A massive protest rally was also held at the Chingdai area in Kangpokpi district.

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