IJU hails HC order releasing Wangkhem

HYDERABAD/NEW DELHI, Apr 9: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has hailed the Manipur High Court’s (HC) order releasing journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, who is in jail since 21 November.
The division bench of the high court, comprising Justices Lanusungkum Jamir and KH Nobin Singh, quashed the order of the district magistrate of Imphal West for detaining Wangkhem under the National Security Act and ordered his immediate release. He is likely to be released in a day or two.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, IJU President Amar Devulapalli and Secretary-General Sabina Inderjit welcomed the court order and said, “Though the court took far too long – about four months – to release him, it was heartening news as his detention was a gross misuse of the NSA and simply unacceptable. The Manipur HC vindicated our faith in the judiciary and upheld the freedom of speech and expression.”
Wangkhem was arrested on sedition charges on 21 November after he posted a video on Facebook, criticizing Manipur CM N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he was released by a district court, saying that criticism against those in power did not amount to sedition.
A vindictive state government, however, arbitrarily detained him under the NSA.
Wangkhem has been ill since March, and was admitted to the government-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.