The Manipur High Court, on the 8th of April, ordered the release of journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem.
After being held for three months under the National Security Act (NSA) on grounds of sedition, Wangkhem can finally go home to his family. The moment the Manipur High Court sends a copy of the order, Wangkhem will be free.
The journalist was booked on the 27th of November in 2018 by the NSA for making derogatory comments against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP.) Wangkhem was also accused of criticising N. Biren Singh, the Chief Minister of Manipur, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media.
On the 13th of December 2018, the Court set up a board to decide the duration of Wangkhem’s sentence and approved a 12 month long detention period. Days after the arrest, Wangkhem moved the Manipur High Court against the detention period.
Ranjita Elangabam, Wangkhem’s wife, said in a statement, “We have just got the verbal order, waiting for the written order. We need to get certain signatures from the state administration which may take two to three days. After that, he would be released from the Sajiwa jail.”
The first time Wangkhem was arrested in Imphal, on the 20th of November, a magistrate granted him bail, saying the video was just a way of expressing his opinion. However, merely a week later, Wangkhem was arrested again, without bail.
Lashing out at the arrest and the Government, Wangkhem said, the order of his arrest was completely arbitrary and the Court had no case here.
The release of the journalist comes three days before the Manipur Lok Sabha elections take place on the 11th of April.
The Lok Sabha elections in Manipur will be held in 2 phases, on the 11th of April and on the 18th of April. The major parties contesting in Manipur are the Indian National Congress (INC,) the BJP and the Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA.)
The results of the seven phased Lok Sabha elections are going to be declared on the 23rd of May.
Stay tuned for more updates.