IMPHAL: The Manipur High Court, on Thursday, declined bail to three individuals, including former MLA, T Thangzalam Haokip, who were arrested on charges of inciting fresh violence in a mixed-community locality in Imphal during the ongoing unrest in the state.
Justice A Guneshwar Sharma, presiding over the case, stated that the incident had the potential to escalate into further violence in the area, a situation averted by the timely intervention of security forces.
According to the prosecution, on May 22, 2023, at the behest of Haokip, the accused persons arrived at the Checkon Tribal Market in Imphal East and disrupted the peace and harmony of the area. They allegedly threatened vendors from various ethnic backgrounds to vacate the market immediately.
Apart from intimidating women vendors and shopkeepers in the vicinity, compelling them to close their shops, they reportedly used abusive and hateful language, escalating tension in the area.
Earlier, the accused had sought bail from the trial court, which was denied. Subsequently, they approached the Manipur High Court, arguing that the allegations against them were based on false propaganda stemming from the ongoing conflict in Manipur.
In response, Manipur government submitted a counter affidavit, asserting that the accused individuals had acknowledged their involvement in the alleged offenses. The government expressed concerns that if released on bail, the accused might directly or indirectly influence or threaten prosecution witnesses, potentially obstructing the investigation.
The government also noted that the incident had sparked fresh violence in the sensitive area, prompting an extended curfew to maintain control.
In light of these circumstances, the court underlined that the admissibility of seized evidence and confessions of co-accused would be assessed during the trial and taking these factors into account, the court denied bail to the accused individuals.