Rights

Believe it or Not: In Modi's India, Saying This Will Get You Jailed for a Year

Why a Manipuri journalist has been jailed under the National Security Act.

New Delhi: Imphal-based journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem was taken into custody in Manipur under the National Security Act (NSA) and sentenced to a 12-month jail term – the maximum period of detention allowed under the Act.

On November 21, Kishorechandra, then working as an anchor-reporter with ISTV, a local news channel, was arrested by Imphal West Police in response to a video he uploaded on social media, criticising the BJP-led state government. In Meitei language, he severely condemned the state chief minister N. Biren Singh for organising a function to commemorate the fight of the Rani of Jhansi against the British and linking it to the freedom movement of Manipur.

What exactly did he say that was so threatening to India’s national security? According to the Imphal district magistrate’s order, which gave the grounds for Kishorechandra’s detention,

..on 19-11-18, you posted four video clips wherein you used unconstitutional and invective words such as ‘F%@# Y*$’, ‘SAKTHU’ many times by showing your middle finger and blamed the existing Government, both the State and the Union, for their policy and programme under the supervision of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi in connivance with RSS and you mentioned that the present Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur is a puppet to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.

You further claimed in your post that Rani Jhansi’s birth anniversary celebration in Manipur is a total nuisance and that the very act of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur celebrating such occasion in the state of Manipur is an insult to the freedom strugglers of Manipur, which means that you spoke and acted in support of militant/terrorist organizations presently operating in Manipur thereby showing your seditious attitude and leaning towards unlawful organizations.

Also, you challenged the authority of the state to come out and arrest you if the authority concerned can do so. Furthermore, you suggested that the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur is a puppet of Hindutva.

Your statement made therein bring or attempt to bring hatred or contempt, or excite or attempt to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, and wherein you also did recite or utter obscene words thereby defaming the  Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur.

The district magistrate’s report also details the Indian Penal Code charges against Kishorechandra, including Sections 124a (sedition) and 500 (defamation).

As such a Suo-Moto case was taken up against you under case FIR No. 236(11)2018 Imphal PS by leveling charges under section 124-A/294 and 500 of Indian Penal Code. You were again arrested in connection with the case and remanded into Police Custody for 6 (six) days vide order dated 21-11-18 of the Hon’ble Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, Manipur. You were, however, released on bail by Hon’ble Chief Minister, Imphal West, Manipur while the investigation of the present case is at the brink of filing Charge Sheet as all the material evidences are already collected by the IO of the case.