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CSCHR condemns arrest of RTI activist Joykumar; demands his immediate release

FILE PHOTO: Wahengbam Joykumar

RTI activist and advocate Wahengbam Joykumar was arrested by personnel of Thoubal police on January 28 from his residence in connection with the killing of a BJP functionary. He has been remanded to five-day police custody.

TFM Desk

Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations (CSCHR) on Sunday condemned the arrest of its member and a well-known Right to Information (RTI) activist, advocate Wahengbam Joykumar, from his residence at Wangkhei Hijam Leirak, Imphal West at round 8:10 pm on January 28 by personnel of Thoubal police station led by SDPO W Ibocha Singh.

According to CSCHR, two police vehicles packed with security personnel came at the residence of Wahengbam Joykumar and tried to enter his house from the back door. His wife, Wahengbam Purnimashi confronted them and asked them to come from the main gate. Some policemen entered the courtyard and told his wife that they wanted to meet Joykumar.

When Joykumar came out from the house, the security personnel told him that they have come to arrest him in connection with a “murder case” and asked to him to come to the police station for interrogation, said CSCHR.

Initially, the security personnel did not even allow Joykumar to change his dress. But after due negotiation, he managed to change his dress in the presence of a policeman. The security personnel also interrogated his wife and was made to sign an arrest memo, added CSCHR. At around 8:21 pm, the security personnel whisked him away.

He was arrested after an FIR (FIR no. 17(1)2023 TBL PS u/s 307/326/34 IPC and 25(I-B)A Act added 302 IPC) was filed. “The case is, apparently, in connection to the killing of a BJP functionary. The alleged killer, who is also an RTI activist, have made the first call after the killing to Joykumar. According to his wife, the alleged killer is a client of her husband and her husband had advised him to duly surrender to the police, which he did. Joykumar was reportedly remanded to police custody till February 2”.

CSCHR explained that advocate Joykumar’s professional and legitimate action of advising his client cannot be construed in any way as criminal conspiracy and that he should be released immediately. “As a well-known human rights defender, who have contributed substantially in addressing public issues of Manipur, he should be treated with due respect and honour. He should not be subjected to any form of mental or physically torture, inhumane or degrading treatment while in custody”, said CSCHR press note issued by convenor Phulindro Konsam and co-convenor Joy Chingakham.

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