New Delhi: Manipur High Court has ordered the release of journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem from jail. He was imprisoned under the National Security Act (NSA) in November 2018 for criticising the BJP-led state government and Chief Minister N Biren Singh in a social media post.
Reports quoted Wangkhem’s wife Ranjita confirming the order of his release.
On March 4, the high court completed hearings of the petition filed by Ranjita but reserved its judgment. Wangkhem, a desk editor at ISTV, an Imphal-based news channel, was arrested on November 21 on sedition charges for uploading a video on Facebook in which he had allegedly called CM Singh a “puppet of Hindutva” for observing Rani Lakshmibai’s (Rani of Jhansi) birth anniversary.
A couple of days later, he was released on bail but was again detained two days later under the NSA and sent to jail. Soon after his detention, Wangkhem had written a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, saying that he had never acted in any manner prejudicial to the security of the nation, a possibility cited for his detention under the NSA.
“I have been detained under NSA for merely criticising the government. Such an act on the part of the detaining authority defeats the very object of democratic principles. In a democracy, people have the right to criticise the government. It is a part of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19(1) of the Constitution,” his letter had reportedly said.