Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem and activist Erendro Leichombam were arrested last month for Facebook posts that said ‘cow dung and cow urine’ don’t cure Covid.
When the Manipur police barged into journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem’s home in Imphal on 13 May, his children — seven, three, and nine months — were paralysed with terror.
“Our oldest immediately turned to pacify our second child, who started to cry and couldn’t hold her stool. Our third is still a baby,” said Wangkhem’s wife, Ranjita. “For me, this is no longer a shock.”
About five kilometres away, political activist Erendro Leichombam’s house was similarly stormed by a team of police officers, who allegedly assaulted his elderly mother and dragged Leichombam out of his room, without giving him a chance to change out of his nightclothes.
“Nothing could stop them. No amount of pleading. They acted like he was some major criminal. He didn’t resist the arrest at all,” said Leichombam’s mother, L. Landhoni. “They hit me and pushed me aside, and I had difficulty breathing for 15 days after.”
Wangkhem and Leichombam were arrested after BJP functionaries complained about their Facebook posts, which said that “cow dung and cow urine” don’t cure Covid-19. It was in the context of state BJP leader S. Tikendra Singh’s death due to the illness.
“The cure for Corona is not cow dung & cow urine. The cure is science & common sense. Professor ji RIP,” Leichombam had written.
“Santhi Sanyung na yadrabo, oh!!! RIP # Rashikang Kangyet Hayeng nga chani,” Wangkhem had written, which loosely translates to “cow dung, cow urine didn’t work”.