New Delhi: A journalist in Manipur was arrested under the stringent National Security Act on November 27, days after he posted a video critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister N Biren Singh on Facebook.
Kishorechandra Wangkhem was sent to jail under the NSA less than 24 hours after he was granted bail by a CJM court in West Imphal in a sedition case filed by the local police. The court had said that remarks were an “expression of opinion against the Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Manipur” and couldn’t be termed as seditious, Indian Express reported.
However, a new order issued by the district magistrate of West Imphal declared Wangkhem should be detained under NSA until further orders.
The National Security Act allows detention of people merely under the presumption that they are “detrimental or pose a threat to national security”. Furthermore, it also denies them access to a lawyer or a hearing before a court of law.
In a video posted on Facebook on November 19, Wangkhem had lashed out at Singh, calling him a “puppet of Modi and Hindutva” for organising a function in Manipur to mark the birth anniversary of Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, who according to him had “nothing to do” with the state.
“Do you have any sense of Manipuri nationalism?” he asked in the video. “If you don’t, don’t talk rubbish.” On several occasions during the video, Wangkhem used abusive language for Modi and Singh. “Come and arrest me,” he had dared.
Wangkhem’s wife Elangbam Ranjita told The Indian Express that the journalist was first was given bail on November 26 against a bond of Rs 70,000. Next day he was summoned to the police station, after which, five to six cops in civilian dress came to their residence and took him away. “We only came to know about the arrest under the NSA on Thursday (November 29),” she said.
The DM’s order that called for Wangkhem's detention stated he “would resume activities which are prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintain of public order, as he is a habitual offender invoking offences that intends to cause fear or alarm to the public…he should be prevented from commission of such prejudicial activities through an alternative preventive measure”.