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Manipur violence: SC says plea of Hyderabad University professor to be heard on Monday

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New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court declined to hear urgently Friday’s plea of Dr Kham Khan Suan Hausing, a professor of Hyderabad University from Manipur, seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings initiated against him in which summons were also issued for his personal presence before a district court in Imphal.

The matter was listed before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Friday. However, with the sitting of the bench cancelled on Friday, senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Hausing, mentioned the case for an urgent hearing before a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

However, Justice Kaul declined to list the matter on Friday saying it will come up for hearing on Monday.

“This is about a professor from Hyderabad. He has to appear today,” Grover said.

The petitioner, Dr Kham Khan Suan Hausing, a professor of Political Science and also the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad, approached the top court seeking the quashing of proceedings and summons.

Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East, Manipur, issued a summons to Hausing asking him to be before it on July 28, 2023, in pursuance of the criminal complaint filed against him by Manihar Moirangthem Singh, a member of the Meitei Tribes Union (MTU).

The Imphal court took cognisance of the offences made out under section 153A (which deals with promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (which deals with acts outraging religious feelings), 505(1) (statements conducting public mischief), 298 (deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The complainant claimed that Professor Hausing’s statements in an interview defamed the Meitei community and fueled communal enmity in Manipur.

In the interview, Hausing advocated a separate administrative setup for the Kuki community.

The petitioner sought a record of the entire complaint including, the statement of the complainant and witnesses, a copy of the complaint, a copy of the FIR lodged and orders passed by the court.

He said summons were issued to him in ‘abject ignorance’ of the communal tension and disturbance prevailing in Manipur between the Kuki and Meitei communities.

The plea cited the case of a lawyer, Deeksha Dwivedi, who was granted interim protection after an FIR was registered against her by the Manipur Police for offences of sedition, conspiracy to wage war, etc.

The petitioner said he is similarly placed with Dwivedi’s case as he apprehends that amidst the communal tension of the two communities, there is a threat to his life and liberty.

The petitioner submitted that on account of the conflict in Manipur, he is apprehensive that there is a real and imminent threat to his life if he travels to the state to answer the summons.

Hausing stated further in his plea that on July 6, summons were issued by the magistrate and no case against the offences under which he was charged are made out.

He said on July 13, it also came to his knowledge that a fresh complaint dated July 10 by one Khomdrom Manikanta Singh had also been filed with the officer-in-charge, Imphal West Police station, Manipur alleging that Hausing is not a citizen of India and his name was added to the state’s electoral rolls by manipulation, fraud, forgery, and conspiracy.

The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3.

The state has been in the grip of violence and civilian unrest for over three months now and the Centre had to deploy central paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.

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