‘Release my husband too’: Wife of Manipur journalist also detained under NSA
Wife of Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, arrested in May under provisions of National Security Act (NSA) for a Facebook post, wrote to Manipur chief secretary Rajesh Kumar on Tuesday requesting his release after political activist Erendro Liechombam, who was also arrested on same charges, was let go on Monday following a Supreme Court order. The SC is now hearing a petition filed by his father seeking compensation alleging his detention was illegal.
Following Leichombam’s release from an Imphal prison, the Manipur government on Monday revoked its earlier order to detain him under Section 14(1) of NSA. Elangbam Ranjita’s letter said the government should now also revoke the order under NSA against her journalist husband.
“My husband has been detained in the Central jail Sajiwa under NSA since May 17 along with one of the detainee Erendro Leichombam who’s NSA has been revoked by your office on July 19,” Ranjita wrote in her letter, which has been seen by HT.
Both Wangkhem and Leichombam were arrested in May this year after Facebook posts denigrating claims that consumption of cow urine and dung could cure Covid-19 while alluding to the death of Manipur Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president S Tikendra Singh due to the disease.
“That the allegations and invoking section of law/act against the said two detainees are the same. However, my husband’s detention order has not been revoked by the concerned authority. So I request your good office to revoke the NSA slapped against my husband so that any further proceedings/any lawful step/course of action may also be dispensed with,” the letter added.
Speaking to HT over phone from Imphal, Ranjita said there was no response from the Manipur government to her letter till Wednesday evening.
Wangkhem, a popular TV journalist, was first arrested in November 2018 for uploading a video on social media which was critical of Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh led government.
Several charges including for sedition and under the National Security Act were slapped against him. He was released in April 2019 after the Manipur high court revoked his detention.
He was again arrested in September 2020 on charges of sedition and promoting enmity between different groups on social media. Wangkhem was released in December 2020 following which he joined Frontier Manipur and started hosting a talk show.