Rahul Gandhi writes to jailed Manipuri scribe, says BJP trampling constitutional rights
Rahul Gandhi said regressive forces continue to unleash violence with impunity, while those who seek accountability from the state are being jailed.Updated: Jan 20, 2019 13:02 IST
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has condemned the arrest and detention of Manipuri journalist Kishore Chandra Wangkhem in Imphal under the National Security Act (NSA ) last month.
“This is another attempt to use the state machinery to silence dissent. Over the past few months, we have witnessed the BJP government’s design to trample on constitutional rights of the people of Manipur,” Gandhi said in his letter to the journalist.
Wangkhem (39), who was an anchor with a local channel in Imphal, was sentenced to one-year detention under the NSA in December, nearly a month after he was taken into custody on November 27 for allegedly targeting the BJP government in the state and in the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Facebook post.
“It is unfortunate that regressive forces continue to unleash violence with impunity, while those who seek accountability from the state are being jailed. Fascist forces have not only attempted to destroy the idea of India but attack anyone who challenges their distorted narrative”, the Congress chief wrote while promising to extend support to the jailed scribe.
Wangkhem’s wife Elangbam Ranjita, an occupational therapist said the letter was handed over to her by TN Haokip, the president of Congress Manipur unit on Friday. He also offered her support from the party.
“I want to thank Rahul Gandhi that he wrote this letter and stood up against this injustice. It was unexpected. It’s not about a political party but he took a stand on humanitarian ground,” Ranjita said.
“ How can anyone slap NSA for merely expressing one’s views?” she asked.
The Manipur government had earlier said that Wangkhem was initially detained on November 27, to “prevent him from acting in any matter prejudicial to the security of the state and maintenance of public order” after a Facebook video that showed him criticising Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Modi.
In the video, the journalist reportedly described the chief minister a “puppet” of Modi and criticized RSS for organising a function meant to mark the birth anniversary of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. Wangkhem insisted that the Rani of Jhansi had nothing to do with Manipur.
Last month, members of the media fraternity across the country rallied their support behind j Wangkhem condemning his arrest and detention.
First Published: Jan 20, 2019 11:48 IST