In a major relief to Manipur-based journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, the High Court of Manipur on Monday quashed his detention order under the National Security Act and ordered his immediate release.
The 39-year-old journalist was detained for allegedly criticising the BJP, RSS, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. He was arrested on sedition charges and sent to jail for 12 months.
A division bench of Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Kh Nobin set aside all the orders, including the detention order passed by the district magistrate, Imphal West, on grounds that authorities did not provide the journalist the copies of Facebook posts and video clips uploaded by him.
“We, therefore, have no option but to infer that the compact disc containing the four videos clips were not supplied to the petitioner. We have, therefore, no hesitation to come to the conclusion that non-furnishing of the pictures with copies alleged to have posted by the petitioner on his Facebook wall on August 7, 2018, and the compact disc containing four video clips to the petitioner vitiates the very detention order,” the court observed.
Following the court’s order, Wangkhem is expected to be freed from jail in a couple of days after the completion of formalities.
Wangkhem’s counsel S Chitaranjan said, “We are expecting that Wangkhem will be released in two or three days after the paperwork is completed. The court’s release order will be sent to the district magistrate from where it will be forwarded to the Home Department and finally the jail authority.”
Welcoming the high court’s order, Wangkhem’s wife Elangbam Ranjita said, “Although I am extremely happy that my husband will soon be released, I am still worried what about the future. The people who put my husband behind bars are still in power,” she said.