Rejecting the bail application, Imphal West Sessions Judge A. Guneshwar Sharma said, “The investigation is at an early stage and many loose ends are to be tightened. At this stage, this Court is not inclined to release the accused on bail.”
An Imphal West court on Tuesday denied to grant bail to Mark Thangmang Haokip who was arrested for his alleged conspiracy for secession from India and to wage war against the nation.
According to the prosecution, Mark Thangmang Haokip, the President of an outfit organisation called ‘Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Kukiland’ [PDRK] is involved in a conspiracy for secession from India and to wage or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the Government of India along with three other office bearers, namely, (i) KS Kipgen- Secretary (Admin), (ii) Lunkhohao Haokip- Secretary, Political Affairs and (iii) CSK Mate- Press Secretary. He is also involved in spreading propaganda in social media platforms so as to create instability, communal hatred, animosity, inciting violence, false propaganda, etc. so as to achieve the organizational goal of Govt. of Kukiland.
Further the prosecution claimed that the accused also owns a website domain by the name ‘www.kukigovt.com’ to propagate their ideas and hatch conspiracy against the government. Incriminating materials are found in the website in Kuki dialect and are yet to be translated to English. During the period of five-day police custody, 20 Items have been seized including mobile phones, laptops, pen drives, diaries, etc. containing incriminating materials. Some of seized items are sent for investigation and results are awaited, it added.
It also stated that the accused is not co-operating the investigation taking undue advantage of the CJM/IW barring interrogations in JIC Kangla and has refused to identify three co-conspirators. Huge contribution of funds has been made to his account and the same is suspected to be terror funding. Investigation is going on the source of such funding and its uses, it added.
Counsel for the accused Ch. Victor submitted that the accused was arrested from Delhi on May 24, 2022 by personnel of Imphal PS in connection with 3 FIRs all under u/s 153A, 505(2) IPC and brought to Imphal by transit remand.
On May 27, .2022, the Duty Magistrate released him on bail as no case was made out against him, but he was sent to judicial custody on failure to furnish requisite bonds. However, on May 30, 2022, when Mark T Haokip was released from jail on furnishing necessary bonds, he was re-arrested in connection with the present FIR u/s 120B/121/121A/123/400 IPC & 17/18 UAPA with mala fide intention and to harass.
Ch Victor argued that the present FIR is registered with the sole motive to confine him in custody anyhow, even after his release by the court.
During the course of hearing, Ch. Victor submitted printouts of 6 facebook posts made by the accused in his dialect along with their translated copies. He pointed out that in his post dated 21.08.2020, Mark T Haokip clarified that ‘PDRK’ was created to spread and clarify the Kuki community’s ideology and in his another post dated 14.02.2018, the accused was against idea of creating new militant group and suggested to resort to politics and non-violence to realize their hopes.
It is vehemently submitted that these innocuous facebook posts do not fall within the meaning of any of the offences charged against him. Rather, it is protected by the fundamental right of free speech as enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. It is further pointed out that the investigation does not take into consideration the clarifications made by the accused in his six facebook posts.
Ch Victor submitted on behalf of the accused that prima facie materials are not found to attract the grave offence of waging war against nation, etc. There is no Investigation in 3 FIRs lodged against the accused in 2021 by Imphal PS and the fourth one is on fabricated grounds after his release on 27.05.2021 in the earlier three FIRS by the Duty Magistrate, he added.
Spl. PP for the State ANilachandra Singh clarifies that in the present FIR, the accused is not arrested for uploading facebook posts. In fact, he is arrested on serious allegations of waging war against India. He pointed out that this aspect has been discovered recently during the course of extensive investigation that he has formed ‘People’s Democratic Republic of Kukiland’ along with three other persons and he refuses to identify the other members of his group.
After hearing arguments of both sides, Imphal West Sessions Judge A. Guneshwar Sharma observed that on perusal of case diary, there is prima facie materials for conspiracy to wage war against the nation even though full-scale activities of recruiting volunteers, procuring arms and ammunition, etc. have not been reached. Nevertheless, there are instances of setting out ideologies, identifying enemies, identifying areas to be covered under the new republic across neighbouring countries, etc, he added.
Rejecting the bail application, the judge said, “The investigation is at an early stage and many loose ends are to be tightened. At this stage, this Court is not inclined to release the accused on bail.”