Samuel Guite was released on bail after complainant Chinkhanmang Ngaite, PRO to Tribal affairs and hills minister Vungzagin Valte has agreed not to pursue for his detention.
Landing in trouble for rubbing the Biren-led Manipur government up the wrong way with a social media post is not news anymore. Many have faced the ire of the present regime for expressing their views on social media platforms. However, the story of a youth from Churachandpur, who became the victim of this “new normal”, came with a twist.
Tribal affairs and hills minister Vungzagin Valte had on March 16 made a remark that chief minister N Biren Singh was “godsend” and after the first Christian missionary came to Churachandpur in 1910, Biren was the second missionary who came to “bail out”.
The remark went viral on social media platforms and many people, particularly youths, reacted to it.
A facebook user, Worthson Samuel Guite shared the speech, with a caption:
“His speeches reveal two things about his brain:
1) On the Left side of his brain, there’s nothing right.
2) On the Right side, there’s nothing left.
Lord, why are we in this world with these people? Let’s make a trade- give us back our Pu Phungzathang Tonsing, we’ll give you Vungzagin. That’s a great deal.”
PRO to minister Vungzagin Valte, Chinkhanmang Ngaite lodged a complaint on March 19 with the Churachandpur police for “defamation, statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes”, punishable under u/s 500/505(2) IPC.
Samuel Guite was arrested from his residence at Gangpimol, Churachandpur by the police and produced before the District Sessions court on March 20. He was remanded to police custody till March 23 and to be produced before the court on March 24.
The story took an interesting twist. Samuel along with his family was “summoned” to the quarter of the minister at Lamphel, Imphal on March 23. While many are questioning the legality of summoning someone in police custody to the quarter of a minister, the complainant had “a threadbare discussion on the unwarranted fb status” with the respondent T.Samuel Guite @ Worthson Samuel Gulte.
They had reached an agreement that “there was no malafide intention as reported and, on the part of Complainant Chinkhanmang Ngaite, PRO to Vungzagin Valte has agreed not pursue for the detention of T Samuel Guite.”
The very next day on Wednesday, Samuel Guite was released on bail.
Responding to a query on March 23 during a press conference, Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) president Paotinthang Lupheng termed the episode as “curtailment of freedom of speech and expression”. If the government cannot tolerate such things, there is something wrong with the system, he said.
Lupheng also added that the minister can take the Facebook post as an expression of mere idea or a joke. It is surprising that the minister has gone to such length, he added. On the summoning of Samuel to the minister’s quarter, he said that it was questionable whether it was right or wrong.Churachandpur youth, FB status