Manipur scribe’s act doesn’t amount to prejudice to security: Counsel

Imphal: Lawyer of arrested Manipur-based journalist Kishorechand Wangkhem said any act on the part of Wangkhem does not amount to prejudice to security or maintenance of public order.

Speaking to ANI, S Chittaranjan”>S Chittaranjan said, “Any act on the part of the detained Wangkhem doesn’t amount to prejudice to security or maintenance of public order. This is a fight between two individuals, how can it be treated as public order? This is wrong on the part of the detaining authority. They had no subject satisfaction before passing this particular detention order. That’s why we have come before Manipur High Court challenging the order.”

Wangkhem, journalist of a local TV channel, was arrested on November 20 under the National Security Act (NSA) for allegedly posting a video recording targeting the stance of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren and Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding a function organised in regard to Rani of Jhansi being linked with the freedom movement of Manipur.

In the video clips, he purportedly said that Rani of Jhansi’s activities had nothing to do with Manipur and the state was observing her birth anniversary because the Centre had asked it to.
The Manipur High Court has directed the district magistrate, Imphal West, state government and the Centre to submit counter affidavit against the petition filed by Wangkhem challenging his detention order under the National Security Act (NSA) before next year February 1.

Meantime Wangkhem’s wife, E. Ranjita has submitted a letter written by former Supreme Court justice, Markandey Katju addressing to the chief justice and his puisne judges through the registered general of the high court.

The letter stated, “My lord the judiciary is the protector and guardian of the fundamental rights of the people. You have taken an oath to uphold the constituency. Please don’t just ignore the flagrant violation of the rights of the people like Bheeshma Pitamah during the ‘cheer haran’ of Draupadi but act like Lord Krishna who save the honour by quashing the manifestly order of the state government.”

“It is of the essence of democracy that people have the right to criticise the government or ministers, for what else is democracy but rule by the people. The chief minister of Manipur is behaving like a Little Dictator (to paraphrase the title of Charlie Chaplin’s famous film ‘The Great Dictator’),” it also mentioned.”

It also mentioned that, “The grounds of detention are vague and the allegations made therein did not lend apprehension for acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintenance of public order. Those so called grounds merely relates to freedom of speech and expression at best.”

But the chief judicial magistrate released him on November 26 stating that, “The words, terms and gesture used by the accused in the video cannot be termed as seditious. It is mere expression of opinion against the public conduct of public figure in a street language.”

However, the next day he was picked up from his residence by police and detained him under section (3) (2) of the NSA Act 1980.

On December 14, the state government has approved the detention of the journalist under the NSA passed by the district magistrate, Imphal West and fixed the period of detention for a period of one year from the date of detention.

Various organisations including the Press Council of India, Indian Journalist Union, student bodies termed the detention as arbitrary and demanded the release of Kishorchandra.