Manipur journalist Keshorchandra Wangkhem, who is serving a one-year jail term under National Security Act (NSA), has filed a petition challenging his detention order in the High Court of Manipur.
Wangkhem filed the petition Wednesday through his council Ch Victor, pleading the court to quash the detention order. In the petition, he said that none of the ground furnished covers the expression of “prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintenance of public order”.
Wangkhem was taken into custody November 26 by Manipur Police under NSA barely 24-hours after he was released by a city court. On December 1, the Imphal West district magistrate issued the ground of detention under the Act to Wangkhem’s wife.
On November 20, Keshorchandra Wangkhem who worked with a local TV channel was arrested after he uploaded a video criticising the BJP led Manipur government on social media. He was charged with a certain section under 124-A/294/500 IPC which includes sedition.
He criticised the stance of the BJP led Government for organizing the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi being a freedom fighter, linking with the freedom movement of Manipur. He reportedly also used some abusive words against the BJP led Manipur Government and RSS, calling the Manipur Chief Minister a ‘puppet’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While releasing Wangkhem on bail, the city court termed his video as a mere expression of opinion against the public conduct of public figure in a street language.
Despite censure from various quarters including the Press Council of India, Indian Journalist Union, student bodies terming the arrest as arbitrary and demanding Wangkhem’s release, the NSA Advisory board approved his detention under the Act. The NSA advisory board submitted its report last on November 13 after a review meeting held on November 11.
Subsequently, the Home department of Manipur issued an order sentencing Wangkhem for the maximum period of 12 months under Section 13 of the NSA.
While the board has rejected Wangkhem’s plea seeking revocation of the detention order, his wife Elangbam Ranjita has reportedly sent similar representation to the Ministry of Home Affairs to reconsider the detention order.