India: community-based HRD and public health physician detained for criticising local Government in a Facebook postEvent
- Initial Date
- Apr 3, 2020
- Event Description
Shadishkanta had company at the Porompat police station on the night of April 1 � Konsam Victor Singh, an employee at a government-run college in Imphal who had also been picked up from his home that evening.
When he asked the police officials why he was being detained, they told him it was related to a Facebook post he had written the previous day, claimed Victor Singh.
The post, written in the Meeteilon language, read: �CM covid-19 relief fund da CM Biren masagi oiba lupa kaya hapkhi khangbiba yaobibaro?� Does anybody know how much has Chief Minister Biren contributed to the CM Covid-19 relief fund?
At the police station, officials told him that there was �pressure from the chief minister�s side� to take action against him, said Victor Singh. �They told me I had no choice but to spend the night in lock-up,� he said.
There were no formal charges against him. The next morning, according to Victor Singh, the police told him he would be released if he deleted his Facebook post and posted an apology on the site. �I had spent the night with six other people in a small cell in the time of Covid-19, so I did what they asked me to,� he said.
He was released after he posted a new update on his Facebook page. It read: �I am deleting this post. I don�t have any negative intention towards the CM of Manipur.�
Haobijam declined comment on Victor Singh�s detention.
Two days later, on April 3, Laifungbam Debabrata Roy, a rights activist and a public health physician, was picked up from his home. At the police station, Roy said, he was asked to explain a Facebook post he had written the previous day.
It read: �The present Manipur Chief Minister, especially at this time of crisis, should desist from wasting State resources, time and personnel in carrying out any personal political agenda or vendetta. It demeans and belittles the position occupied and the responsibility that entails.�
Roy said he told the police official interrogating him that the post did not make any personal attack on the chief minister or his colleagues: �I told them it was just encouraging them not to waste time in pursuing other agenda in a time like this.�
Roy said he also wrote down his explanation, as demanded by the police. Yet they insisted that he had to spend the night in prison.
When his lawyer asked for a formal FIR, the police reportedly furnished a draft FIR that charged Roy under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, a section that deals with actions that amount to �disobedience to follow order promulgated by public servant�. However, the FIR was not registered.
The next day, Roy was released after the police made a video of him reading out an apology note to the chief minister.
Imphal West police superintendent, K Meghachandra Singh, said Roy had accused the government of �wasting its resources�. �So, we had an interaction with him and released him on bail bond,� said the police official.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Intimidation and Threats
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to information
- Blogger/ Social Media Activist
- Community-based HRD
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 3 April 2020, Debabrata Roy, community-based HRD and public health physician, was detained by the police for criticising local Government on CVID-19 handling in a Facebook post in Imphal, India.