Manipur activist Leichombam Erendro was released from custody on July 19. The political activist was arrested for his remarks on cow dung and urine on a Facebook post.
The post criticized the use of cow dung and cow urine for treatment of the Covid-19 infection. He was arrested in May and released on July 19 at 4.45 pm, before the expiry of the Supreme Court deadline.
Erendro spoke to the media, accusing the government of misusing the National Security Act (NSA). He alleged that the government is trying to silence the public by using the NSA.
Referencing the recent Supreme Court statement on the misuse of sedition law, he stated that over 326 cases of sedition charges are present in India. He further said that the government’s censorship will not work because India is a strong democracy.
The apex court ruled that Erendro’s detention is a violation of the right of life and personal liberty of the individual. The Supreme Court bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and MR Shah stated that they believe the detention will cause a violation of the right to life and personality liberty promised under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
A plea was filed by the father of the activist related to the matter. The activist was released at 5 pm with a bond of one thousand rupees.
The court also ordered the Registrar Judicial to communicate the proceedings and a copy of the order to the Manipur Central Jail.
Upon his release, Erendro greeted his 58-year-old mother. He said to the Indian Express that he has mixed feelings over his release because his friend who was imprisoned with him is still facing detention.
On May 13, Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem and activist Leichombam Erendro were arrested for a post related to the death of the former state chief of the BJP, Tikendra Singh. The Bharatiya Janata Party Manipur unit’s General Secretary P Premananda and Vice President Usham Deban had filed a complaint against them stating the posts on Facebook were offensive.
On May 17, both of them were booked under the NSA Act. His post stated that the cure of the Covid-19 virus is not the cow urine or cow dung, but science and common sense, followed by condolence to Tikendra Singh and his family.
The petition presented in the court provided the context of the arrest. Erendro had published a post referencing the death of the BJP state chief.
He wrote about the unscientific and unreliable method of using cow dung and cow urine to treat the Covid-19 infection. The post had criticized the claims and termed them as misinformation. The petition further argued that the case reflects a misuse of detention laws to stifle a speech made in the public interest.
Last Year, in June, Erendro was charged with sedition over his post of Rajya Sabha MP Sanajaoba Leishemba and Home Minister Amit Shah on Facebook. The post was captioned with “mini macha” which translates to “son of a servant” in English.
The post showed the titular king of Manipur bowing down to Amit Shah. In May 2018, he had spent seventeen days in custody for declining to remove a video in which Bihari youngsters were allegedly frightening the Manipur residents.
He stated that this is not the first instance of him being arrested under NSA and detention laws. But he said he will be expressing his opinions on political and social matters, as it is his right as a citizen to criticize the government.