In wake of a series of massive agitation for the past six days by many civil society organisations, a special NIA court here on Friday granted conditional bail to all five youths who were arrested on September 16 wearing security forces uniforms and armed with sophisticated weapons.
Officials said that though the NIA court granted bail, the five youths were not released from the jail till late Friday evening. The five youths were granted bail by the court after furnishing a PR bond of Rs 50,000, while the court imposed five conditions, which include that the accused shall not leave Manipur without its prior permission.
The court also directed them to cooperate with the investigation, make themselves available before the investigating authority, not influence prosecution witnesses, and to appear before the investigation officer of the case every 15 days.
The order of the court said that the investigating officer of the case cannot show strong prima facie evidence against all the accused persons for the commission of terrorist acts and prejudicial activities against the state attracting section 16 UA(P) Act and section 121-A of the IPC as of now.
Rejecting the remand prayer of Manipur Police for their judicial custody, the court said: “All the accused persons have not yet committed any prejudicial activities against the state till the time of the arrest.”
Police arrested five persons on Saturday with sophisticated weapons in camouflage uniform.
A large number of men and women came out on Sunday to protest the arrest and tried to storm Porompat police station in Imphal East district demanding their release, but the security forces repelled the police station attack by firing tear gas shells.
Various civil society organisations and many local clubs called a 48-hour shutdown in Manipur’s five valley districts from Monday midnight demanding unconditional release of five “village protection volunteers”.
The shutdown cripped the normal life in the five districts while clashes took place between the agitators and the security forces in many places of these districts.
Thousands of agitators, mostly women, tried to storm various police stations in five valley districts — Bishnupur, Kakching, Thoubal, Imphal West, and Imphal East — but the huge contingent of Rapid Action Force and other security forces prevented them by firing tear gas shells.
The district authorities had also cancelled the routine curfew relaxation period in different valley districts. After the shutdown ended on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, the civil society organisations defying curfew restrictions, started “mass courting of arrest” from Thursday leading to repeated clashes with the security forces in many places of five valley districts, inhabited by the non-tribal Meitei community.