Police in the Indian state of Manipur have booked journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem and activist Erendro Leichombam under the National Security Act (NSA) over their Facebook posts about the death of state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief S Tikendra Singh, who succumbed to COVID-19 last week.
Both of the accused individuals had said in their Facebook posts after Singh's death that cow urine and dung were not cures for COVID-19. They were arrested on 13 May. However, on Monday, they were bailed by the state's high court, but before they were released the state government booked them under the NSA.
The NSA is an act that empowers the state or federal government to detain a person if they feel that he/she is a threat to national security. The government can also stop them from disrupting public order.
Wangkhem's post in the Manipuri language said: "Santhi Sanyung na yadrabo, oh!!! RIP #Rashikang_Kangyet Hayeng nga chaani".
According to state media EastMojo, it translates to: "Cow dung [and] cow urine didn't work. RIP. Groundless argument. Tomorrow, I will eat fish".
Leichombam in his post had said that cow dung and urine were not a cure for the coronavirus and expressed condolences at the death of the BJP leader. "The cure is science & common sense", he wrote.
Both of the accused are reportedly staunch critics of Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2018, state police invoked the NSA against Wangkhem after he posted a video on Facebook criticising Manipur State Chief N Biren Singh and the PM.
Leichombam was also charged with sedition last July and was arrested in 2018 for posting a video on Facebook.