The state records the highest number of sedition cases in 2020. The Biren-led government, which is known for going tough on those who criticised his policy/government on social media or posted comments that are not to his liking, registered a total of 112 cyber crimes-related cases between 2018 and 2020. But the interesting fact is that not a single case was chargesheeted
The chief minister N Biren Singh-led government, which has recently drawn flak for misuse of the stringent National Security Act for a Facebook post saying cow urine doesn’t cure COVID-19, has earned yet another dubious distinction of slapping highest number sedition charges in 2020 among all the states and Union Territories.
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, Manipur recorded 15 sedition cases in the year 2020 which is 1400% jump from the previous year which reported just one sedition case. The report assumes significance as the Supreme Court expressed concern over “enormous misuse” of this colonial era penal law on sedition and decided to examine its validity.
Besides, Manipur has also recorded 169 cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the highest amongst all the states in 2020. Amongst the UTs, Jammu & Kashmir registered the highest number of UA(P)A cases, with 287 cases.
Many including former Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Nariman has been urging the top court to strike down offensive portions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sedition.
Two journalists, Kishorechand Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla, who were charged with sedition law have filed a writ petition challenging the validity of Section 124A IPC that criminalises and provides punishment for sedition.
Kishorechand Wangkhemcha has had three FIRs filed under Section 124A against him for comments and posts made on Facebook. The comments and posts criticised the Government of Manipur for its management of a crisis at the Manipur University; called the chief minister of Manipur an ‘agent of the Prime Minister’; and criticised the comments made by a politician and their family members against members of the Schedule Tribe Community.
According to the NCRB report, a total of 813 offences against the state were registered between 2018 and 2020 — 307 in 2018, 315 in 2019 and 191 in 2020. Interestingly, while Manipur had the highest rate of offence (crime incidence per one lakh of population) with 6.1 per lakh of population, the state had the lowest chargesheeting rate of 0.4 percent amongst all the states and UTs in 2020.
Another interesting finding in the NCRB report is the number of UA(P)A cases against insurgents in Manipur. The state was the only one from Northeast that registered cases under UA(P)A in 2020, with 149 cases though CM Biren has claimed that the law and order situation in the state has been largely peaceful.
The CM Biren Government which is known for going tough on those who criticized his policy / government on social media or posted comments that are not to his liking, registered a total of 112 cyber crimes-related cases between 2018 and 2020 — 29 cases in 2018, four in 2019 and 79 in 2020. But the interesting fact is that not a single case was chargesheeted, the only state in the country to have this distinction.Manipur, NCRB, sedition cases