Denouncing his detention under the National Security Act (NSA), Journalist Keshorchandra Wangkhem Saturday said that he will fight for justice till his last breath.
Speaking to reporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) Hospital where he was brought for routine medical check-up, Wangkhem said, “my detention under NSA is arbitrary. The allegation levelled against me are baseless, they are trying to stop me from raising my voice against the government. I will fight till my last breath at the High Court or the Supreme Court to get justice.”
Wangkhem was arrested on November 20 by the Imphal West Police after he uploaded a video criticising the BJP-led Manipur government for observing Rani of Jhansi’s birth anniversary in Imphal. He reportedly used abusive words against the BJP-led Manipur government and RSS and called Manipur Chief Minister a ‘puppet’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On 26 November, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal West, however, released him on bail terming Kishorchandra’s video as a mere expression of opinion. He was later re-arrested on November 27 and on December 14 the state government released an order to detain Kishorchandra under the NSA for one year following the approval of the NSA advisory board.
Even before he stepped down from the prisoner van, the jailed journalist shouted, “Down with the BJP government”.Terming the Manipur government as “dictatorial rule”, he urged the people to unite and bring down such government.
“If we cannot say anything against the government, then, it shows that there is no democracy in the land, arresting me under NSA for speaking against the government should be appropriate only in the times of Hitler,” said Wangkhem.
He also refuted the statement of Brozendro Ningomba, president of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) that Kishorchandra is not a journalist.
Ningomba is also the chief editor of the ISTV network, where Wangkhem used to work before he was arrested. According to Ningomba, Wangkhem was assigned as a news reader and translator at ISTV network and cannot be regarded as a journalist.
With a similar stance, Ningomba also reportedly wrote to the Indian Journalist Union (IJU) on Friday. Ningomba’s letter was later leaked and went viral on social media drawing flak from different angles.