A journalist, who had criticised the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Manipur on social media, has been sentenced to one year in detention by a local court, according to a statement issued by the state home department. The chief judicial magistrate of Imphal West district passed the order on December 14. The statement was accessed by PTI on Wednesday. The Advisory Board of the National Security Act (NSA), in its sitting held on December 11, had examined the allegations leveled against the journalist, Kishorechand Wangkhem.
On December 13, the board recommended that there were “sufficient grounds” to detain Wangkhem under the provisions of the NSA, the statement said. Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla approved the advisory board’s recommendation to detain the journalist for a maximum period of 12 months under the NSA.
The 39-year-old Imphal-based journalist was detained under the NSA on November 26 for allegedly uploading videos criticising the BJP-led governments in Manipur and at the Centre for observing Rani Jhansi’s birth anniversary.
Wangkhem works with a local TV channel and the videos that he had uploaded on November 19 in English and Meitei were not related to his official work, officials had said earlier.
In the video clips, Wangkhem had purportedly said he was saddened and shocked to learn that the present government in Manipur was observing the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi, according to media reports.
He reportedly said Rani of Jhansi’s deeds had nothing to do with Manipur and the state was observing her birth anniversary because the Centre had asked it to. In this context, he allegedly called Chief Minister Biren Singh a “puppet of the Centre” and a “puppet of Hindutva”.
The chief minister had claimed that the Rani of Jhansi had played a role in the unification of India. November 19 is the birth anniversary of Laxmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, who was one of the leading figures in the 1857 sepoy mutiny. Wangkhem’s wife Ranjita Elangbam told PTI on Wednesday that she has appealed to the MHA to “cancel” the charges against him under the NSA but has not received any reply till now.