Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem's wife, jailed under NSA, writes to Manipur government, 'release my husband too'
Elangbam Ranjita, wife of Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, has written a letter to the state's chief secretary Rajesh Kumar, demanding the release of her husband. Recently, Manipur political activist Lichombam Erendro was released following the directions of the Supreme Court. Both Wangkhem and Erendro were arrested in May under the National Security Act (NSA) for their Facebook posts.
After the release of Lichombam from Imphal jail, the Manipur government on Monday withdrew its earlier order detaining him under Section-14(1) of the NSA. After this, Wangkhem's wife Ranjita has said in her letter that the government should also withdraw the order against her husband under the NSA.
According to the Hindustan Times report, Ranjeeta has written in her letter, "My husband is in custody under NSA since May 17 along with Lichombam Erendro in Sajiva Central Jail. On July 19, you withdrew the NSA against Erendro. The same section and charges were leveled against both under the law. However, my husband's custody order has not been withdrawn. Therefore, I request you to withdraw the charges under NSA against my husband."
Police arrested Wangkhem for the third time in 3 years
Ranjita wrote this letter on Tuesday. However, Ranjeeta said that till Wednesday evening there has been no response from the government on this. Wangkhem was earlier arrested in November 2018 for criticizing the N Biren Singh-led government. Several sections including sedition and NSA were imposed against him. He was released in April 2019 following the order of the Manipur High Court. After this he was also arrested in September 2020 on charges of sedition for his social media post.
Wangkhem and Erendro had made sarcastic remarks on social media after the death of Manipur BJP President S Tikendra Singh due to corona infection. Paying tribute on Facebook, both wrote in separate posts that cow dung or cow urine does not protect against Kovid-19. Only after this both were taken into custody by the police.
Can't be kept in jail even for a day: Supreme Court
On July 19, the Supreme Court had directed the release of Lichombam Erendro. The court had said in its order that he cannot be kept in jail even for a day. A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah had said that keeping him in custody would violate his fundamental right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
On coming out of jail, Erendro told the media that the action of the BJP-led state government amounted to abuse of power to silence the citizens. He said, “They are probably unaware that freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India. The people of Manipur will give a befitting reply to him in the state elections."