Updated: December 15, 2018 7:43:28 pm
Manipur Government has released an order to detain Imphal-based journalist, Keshorchandra Wangkhem, under the National Security Act (NSA) for 12 months following the approval of the NSA advisory board.
The development comes amid condemnation from different angles including Indian Journalist Union (IJU) and Press Council of India (PCI), who demanded Wagnkhem’s release.
In a statement, the deputy secretary (Home) Manipur, Dr Th Charanjeet Singh, on behalf of the Governor, said the detention order has been approved by the state government “after examination of the report, the detention order, grounds of detention and other relevant papers furnished by the district magistrate”.
The NSA advisory board submitted its report on Thursday approving the detention of Wangkhem under NSA. The board convened its review meeting on Tuesday.
The board has unanimously opined that “there are grounds and sufficient cause for detention of the detenu under NSA,” said the government order.
The board reportedly rejected the representation sent by Wangkhem last Monday seeking revocation of the detention order, saying his plea was ‘devoid of merit’.
Subsequently, in consonance with the opinion expressed by the Advisory Board, the Governor of Manipur has confirmed the order for detaining Wangkhem for the maximum period of 12 months under Section 13 of the NSA.
Wangkhem’s lawyer, Victor said, “The decision of the government is just a blatant disregard to the Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, by lawmakers who made the law and interpret the law in their own term.”
He said Wangkhem was arrested with an ill-conceived mind sidelining all the basic provision of the Indian Constitution including freedom of speech and expression, right to life and liberty.
The lawyer further informed that a ‘habeaus corpus’ petition would be filed in the High Court of Manipur based on the outcome of the decision made by the Centre government on Wangkhem’s case.
Keshorachandra Wangkhem, who worked in a local TV channel, was arrested on November 20 by the Imphal West Police after he uploaded a video criticising the BJP led Manipur government on social media. He was charged with certain section under 124-A/294/500 IPC which include sedition.
He criticised the stance of the BJP led Government for organizing Rani of Jhansi being a freedom fighter, linking with the freedom movement of Manipur besides reportedly using abusive words against the BJP led Manipur Government and RSS.
He was rearrested on November 27, barely 25 hours after a lower court released him on bail terming Wangkhem’s video as a mere expression of opinion against the public conduct of public figure in a street language.
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