Manipur Journalist, Arrested Under NSA For "Cow Dung" Post, Released

Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a journalist in Manipur, had after Manipur BJP chief S Tikendra Singh died of Covid, posted on Facebook

Kishorechandra Wangkhem is a journalist with the news website The Frontier Manipur

Highlights

  • Kishorechandra Wangkhem was jailed under NSA in May for a Facebook post
  • Mr Wangkhem's arrest was widely criticised by rights activists
  • "Will demand compensation for unlawful detention": Mr Wangkhem's lawyer
Imphal:

A journalist in BJP-ruled Manipur who was jailed under the stringent National Security Act in May for a Facebook post on the death of a BJP leader due to COVID-19 has been released by the Manipur High Court.

Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a journalist with the news website The Frontier Manipur, had after Manipur BJP chief S Tikendra Singh died of Covid, posted on Facebook, "Cow dung and cow urine didn't work?"

A bench of Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin Singh ordered the release of Mr Wangkhem after the journalist's wife, Elangbam Ranjita, filed a petition. Ms Ranjita opposed the arrest under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).

The arrest had also drawn criticism from rights activists who claimed the BJP government in Manipur has often misused the NSA to silence its critics.

The journalist's lawyer, Chongtham Victor, said they will soon demand compensation for unlawful detention.

On May 13, Mr Wangkhem along with an activist, Leichombam Erendro, were arrested for Facebook posts on the death of the state BJP chief.

Under the NSA, a person can be detained if he or she is known to be a threat to national security. It allows preventive detention for months.

The detention of the Manipur journalist over his social media post that cow dung or urine can't cure Covid does not fall under such a definition, rights activists have argued, and demanded compensation for the "illegal detention".

The family of activist Erendro Leichombam, who was released on July 19, has also demanded compensation. Mr Leichombam was released by an order of a Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, who said "he cannot be kept in jail even for a day", according to Bar and Bench.