This is perhaps the first time, the Indian army had stepped forward to preserve the fundamental rights including the right to freedom of expression of Indian citizens, bet it one of its own officer or not. The FB post of the major was reportedly considered critical of Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh.
By Yambem Laba
Major Thokchom Bhagajit Singh, a Manipuri Meetei Army officer attached to the 2nd Madras Regiment had recently posted some comments on his Facebook page that were considered critical of Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The post was apparently made from his current place of posting outside Manipur.
The Major was however cautioned by some of his elders back home, of the perils many had faced in the state for such posts.
Heeding upon the elders advice he removed his post from his social media wall. Then, he must have thought his worries were over and he returned on leave to his home in Sekmai area. He might have forgotten about his post on Facebook but the Manipur Police had not.
And barely had he settled down on his “shuti” when personnel belonging to the Sekmai Police Station pounced upon him and took him into custody, and locked him up. He then got released on bail through the Court. How this missed the eyes of the media is not known.
Then, he was taken into custody by the Porompat Police Station of Imphal East where he reportedly spent 18 hours in the lock-up. That was then when the Army authorities stepped in.
According to highly placed Army sources, including a former General of the Indian Army had informed this writer that they had got winds of the Police making – preparations for his re-arrest on new charges in Thoubal and Bishnupur District, apparently from directives from the Higher Ups in the Sarkar. This was in the first week of April.
That was when the Army’s Top Brass at Leimakhong where the HQs of the 57-Mountain Division is located got cracking down on the Manipur Police. The Army is said to have pointed out to the Police that under the Army Act no army-man can be arrested by the Police unless the charges refers to Rape, Murder or Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder.
And that the Army Act provides no relaxation of critical comments on the Chief Minister or otherwise. In case if any inquiry is to be done, it should be the Army authorities notably the Commanding Officer.
When news last came in, the Manipur Police had made a hasty retreat and that the Major is cooling his heels somewhere in South India now.
It might be recalled that Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh is highly sensitive about Facebook postings and had not hesitated to use the National Security Act to muzzle their mouths and thoughts.
Anyway, this is perhaps the first time, the Indian army had stepped forward to preserve the fundamental rights including the right to freedom of expression of Indian citizens, bet it one of its own officer or not.
This is not the first time Army has acted on such incidents. Please check your data. There has been numerous incidents in the past where Army has stepped in and took frivolous action against Police for arresting any Army Personnel. To mention it, Maj Litul Gogoi was also arrested for an incident but Army had restricted Police from taking any action under CRPC.
Dear Sameer, Thanks for the response. The story talks about a Facebook post expressing the major’s views. And he was arrested. If you are aware of any Army Major arrested for his or hers Facebook or social media posts, please let us know. The story does not deal with other acts other than expressing one’s views on social media. Thanks for reading.
Excellent action by the IA. Soldiers should always feel their seniors are there for them, in all times.
Kudos to IA. May this be a lesson for the police never to harass a soldier who is willing to lay down his life for you.
Manipuri Meetei Army? He is an Indian first.
RIP POLICE 😂
THEY EVEN DON KNOW RULES FOR ARRESTING AN ARMY PERSONNEL