IMPHAL: The Supreme Court stepped in to provide protection to two academicians from the Kuki-Zo community, who faced possible coercive action by the Manipur Police. They were implicated for their editorial role in a book accused of misrepresenting the state’s history.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, on Wednesday, not only issued a notice but also granted an interim safeguard against any potential arrest. This respite is set for a period of three weeks.
The controversy revolves around the book titled The Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919, edited by Professor Jangkhomang Guite of Manipur University and Assistant Professor Thongkholal Haokip of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The work is an account by Colonel Vijay Chenji (retired).
The FIR against the academicians was lodged under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (publishing rumour) of the IPC. Representing the duo, Senior advocate Anand Grover called for the FIR to be quashed. He further highlighted that the petitioners hadn’t obtained the FIR copies, casting doubt over the situation. The case is set for a follow-up hearing in three weeks.
The Federation of Haomee, an Imphal-based civil society organisation, was behind the complaint leading to the FIR. They assert that the so-called “Anglo-Kuki war” never transpired in Manipur. Instead, they believe the book falsely represents a Kuki rebellion spanning 1917 to 1919. The federation has made fervent calls for the book’s prohibition, stating it as essential “for the ends of justice and peace in the country”.