A local court in Manipur’s Imphal on July 6 took cognisance of charges filed against Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing, for a media interview in which he blamed the state and the role of Meitei groups in the continuing ethnic violence in the state.
Kham Khan Suan Hausing is Professor, and currently the Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). He belongs to a tribal community from Manipur.
The court of CJM, Imphal East had last week taken cognisance of similar charges against two Kuki leaders for an interview they had given to The Wire.
A solidarity statement from Communitas, a student collective from UoH, claims Hausing has been charged with “six sections of the Indian Penal Code for an interview he gave to The Wire”.
The court also directed that a notice be issued to the accused, returnable by the next date of hearing on July 28, The Hindu reported.
The court noted that both the complainant and witness gave statements taking issue with the interview Hausing had given to a news website. According to both statements, he had made derogatory remarks against holy religious sites associated historically with the Meitei community namely Koubru, Thangjing and others.
“He has been accused under Sections 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, or language), 200 (Knowingly declaring something false), 295(A) (Deliberate acts to outrage religious feeling), 298 (Verbally outraging religious feelings), 505(1), and 120B of the Indian Penal Code,” reads the statement.
In an apparent response to the legal action, Hausing tweeted that “If a majoritarian state and its regime chose to use its coercive monopoly of power to silence truth and violate human rights with impunity, we have to remain united, reclaim and fight for these”.
“Charging him under various sections accusing him of promoting enmity, defaming religious sentiments and engaging in criminal conspiracy is not only a serious threat to his academic freedom but also a threat to his physical security considering the volatile situation,” Communitas stated while demanding to withdraw charges against him.