Former TMC general secretary arrested for sharing doctored video of CM

GANGTOK, 24 Sept:

Former Trinamool Congress [Sikkim] general secretary, TsheringWangchukLepcha was arrested this afternoon by Sadar Police on charges of forgery for purpose of harming reputation of a person or persons. He was later released on bail.

It is learnt that an FIR was filed by Principal Secretary of Chief Minister’s Office, RS Basnet at Sadar Thana following which Mr Lepcha was arrested under section 469 of the IPC. Mr Lepcha had allegedly shared a video of Chief Minister PawanChamling on social media which according to the complainant harmed the reputation of the CM. It is informed that his phone has also been seized by the police.

The video on social media is of the Chief Minister addressing a function wherein he is saying “There is development in Sikkim and corruption”.

However, it turns out that the video has been edited and the original video shows the CM saying “There is development in Sikkim because there is no corruption.”

Speaking to media persons today, vice convenor of Sikkim Subject Committee, Nawin KiranPradhanstated that the arrest of TsheringWangchukLepcha is a black day in the history of Sikkim and violates the fundamental right of freedom of speech. He asserted that the police should take the same action against all those who have been posting doctored videos and defaming posts on social media.

“We would not like to comment on the video which is viral on social medial as the case is under investigation. But we came as part of civil society irrespective of political affiliations to raise a point that Mr Lepcha was personally targeted and harassed for raising social issues,” Mr Pradhan said.

He added that this action was not against Mr Lepcha but against entire youth of Sikkim who have been speaking for the society. The youth will not tolerate this and will fight this issue legally, he said further adding that they have full faith in the law.

Mr Pradhan alleged that most of the doctored videos and posts have been posted by members of the ruling party and if a youth can be arrested then law should apply to everyone. He stated that this case has opened a Pandora’s box.

TsheringWangchukLepcha stated that it was really surprising that a very experienced bureaucrat has filed the case without understanding the freedom of speech and expression.

“I abide by the law and will fight legally. I have full faith in the law and am sure that we will win the case,” he expressed. He also thanked the youth who turned out to support him.

KedarNathTiwari informed that the Forest Minister,TsheringWangdiLepcha had posted a doctored photograph of Bhaichung Bhutia on social media on 15 July earlier this year which he later removed. “Seeing what happened today, I have also filed a FIR under same section against TsheringWangdiLepcha at Sadar Thana. We want the same action by the police against him. We want his arrest and seizure of his mobile phone,” he said.