Tense Situation In Manipur Following The Arrest Of Manipur Based Human Rights Activist In Delhi

Manipur human rights activist Mark Haokip arrested

Churachandpur:  Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip, a Human Right Activist from Manipur was arrested by Manipur Police on Tuesday in New Delhi.

On Tuesday at around 2.30 PM, a team of Manipur Police led by SI Ch Somorjit Singh arrested Mark Thangmang Haokip, who has been outspoken about the rights of tribals in Manipur, on social media. According to a source, he is currently being held at the Imphal Police Station. 

Haokip was arrested for promoting communal disharmony, among other charges, according to Shivakanta Singh, Superintendent of Police Imphal West district reported The Indian Express.

Dr Mark Haokip
Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip

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Haokip was arrested at a time when there were protests against the FIR case against him and the police summons order. The summon order against the human rights activist sparked a protest in Manipur's hills, particularly in Churachandpur district headquarters, where a large crowd gathered to demand the summon order be revoked and the case against the human rights activist be dropped.

A clash between police and protesters reportedly broke out near Churachandpur DC Office and Kuki Inpi Office on May 22 during the protest. To disperse the crowd, police used tear gas, at least ten protesters were injured while another five were detained.

Meanwhile, in Kangpokpi town, hundreds of protesters congregated at Brig M Thomas ground protesting the arrest and demanding the unconditional and immediate release of Dr Mark Haokip.

In Churchandpur, the situation improved, when the Deputy Commissioner and representatives from the protesting crowd met at the DC office, later that evening, The District Magistrate imposed restrictions by invoking section CrPC 144, as the situation remained volatile.

This is not the first time Dr Mark Haokip who is also the President of International Human Rights Association (IHRA) had faced opposition in regard to his social media posts. Haokip had three FIRs registered against him last year, reportedly these complaints were filed mostly by what the tribals describe as  Valley-based organisations in Manipur including  Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL).

Dr. Mark Haokip, a Kuki by ethnicity, has been outspoken about the Kukis' alleged mistreatment in Manipur, particularly in relation to the ongoing feud between valley-based and hill-based institutions over land rights and 'discriminations' against the Kukis based on alleged origins.

"The truth about Maharaja of Manipur merged his kingdom into the Union of India is also well recorded and published by Brigadier Sushil Kumar Sharma in his book the Complexities of Tribal Land Rights and Conflict in Manipur: Issues and Recommendations," Dr Mark Haokip wrote on Facebook on July 27, 2021. "Does Maharaja Sanajaoba Leisemba forget the actual size of their kingdom merger into the Union of India?" he asked six days ago, on July 22. "Just tell him it was only 700 square miles." The post generated lots of attention and anger among members of the Meitei Community. 

On May 18, he wrote on his Facebook Page "Stop Ethnic Cleansing Campaign against the Hill Tribes in the guise of declaring Reserve forest & force Plantation drive. Uprooting settlements and overpowering lands of the Hill Tribes is politically an Ethnic Cleansing Drive in the eyes of Human Rights. This is a Crime Against Humanity." 

Mark Haokip was referring to the ongoing plantation drive across Manipur initiated by the state government and various NGOs. Many Tribals allege that these 'plantation drives' are being conducted without the consent of the hill people by valley based organisations in an attempt to claim Tribal territories and have protested. 

It's worth noting that Manipur is currently embroiled in a social media war primarily between members of two major communities, the Kukis and the Meiteis, with both sides reportedly making disparaging remarks and accusations against one another. Dr Mark Haokip is allegedly spreading fabricated history and promoting "enmity and violence" between different communities in the State, according to some outspoken Valley-based organizations like the Kangleipak Kanba Lup. Meanwhile, supporters of Dr. Mark Haokip and Kuki bodies claim that several institutions, including the same ones, have been spewing 'Anti-Kuki' rhetoric and hate speech against the Kukis with no repercussions. Incidentally, after the arrest of the IHRA, Manipur Chapter president, an arrest memo inscribed with "We did it, Boiss!" and "Mark Haokip has been finally arrested" was posted on a Facebook page named Meitei Rights Protection.

Supporters of Dr Mark Haokip, under the name of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur (COPTRM), have submitted their representation addressed to Governor La Ganesan through the District Magistrate/DC Kangpokpi. 

Manipur Mark haokip
Committee on Protection of Tribal Rights Manipur (COPTRM), has submitted their representation addressed to Governor La Ganesan


The committee informed the Governor about the arrest of the IHRA Manipur Chapter president and urged that he be released immediately. It further claimed that the State Government had abused the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 153(A) in the detention of Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip. The Federation of Haomee and Kangleipak Kanba Lup, it was also alleged, incited enmity towards minority tribes in the state, however, they were neither summoned nor jailed for inciting hatred and antagonism among Manipur's people. It further stated that the prosecution against Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip is a clear response to Kukis being labelled as outsiders and refugees.

Lalboi Haokip, a member of the IHRA Youth Wing, requested immediate intervention from BJP central leaders for Dr Mark Thangmang Haokip's unconditional release and the revocation of all FIRs filed against him. He further urged central leaders to look into the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, which has become extremely dangerous in Manipur, as well as the state Commission for Human Rights and Schedule Tribes.

The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.

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