Editorial

Treasonous reasons

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/21/2018 12:20:34 PM IST

 What befell Manipur television journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem (39) reflects the kind of mindset prevailing in India where criticisms are not tolerated. Wangkhem, a television journalist has been detained for criticizing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on social media under laws intended to ensure national security. He is employed as an anchor-reporter with a news channel IST. He was arrested on November 21 by Manipur Police for uploading a video where he reportedly criticized the Prime Minister and called Manipur BJP chief minister N. Biren Singh as a “puppet of the Centre”, following which, the state government cracked down on him with a heavy hand. Wangkhem was initially arrested on separate charges of sedition on November 21, before being released on November 25, according to his wife, Ranjita Elangbam. He was then detained on November 27 under National Security Act, which allows for detention of up to a year without trial, and has since been held at a jail in Imphal. A board of judges set up under the Act approved his detention on Thursday. What Wangkhem had sought to project was that while Manipur’s BJP government thought right in celebrating Rani Jhansi, yet it did not feel right to celebrate Manipur’s freedom fighters. Kishorechandra Wangkhem was sent to jail under the NSA less than 24 hours after he was granted bail by a CJM court in West Imphal in a sedition case filed by the local police. The court of the CJM had said that remarks were an “expression of opinion against the Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Manipur” and couldn’t be termed as seditious. The National Security Act allows detention of people merely under the presumption that they are “detrimental or pose a threat to national security”. Furthermore, it also denies them access to a lawyer or a hearing before a court of law. The fate of Wangkhem once again confirms that Indian laws, enacted in the interest of internal security, are nothing but repressive in intent and inhuman in purpose. The country is ranked 138th in the World Press Freedom Index run by Reporters Sans Frontières - lower than Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Myanmar - as a result of censorship laws and the murder of several journalists. The use (or misuse) of the NSA has been well explained by Wangkhem’s lawyer who said that the arrest was nothing but a “blatant abuse of the law and its powers”. Unfortunately, there are those who would choose to greatly differ such as Manipur’s deputy home minister Dr Th Charanjeet Singh, who in a statement, maintained that the state had considered the evidence and stood by its decision to detain Wangkhem. The BJP-led coalition government in Manipur which also includes the Naga People’s Front(NPF) and National People’s Party(NPP)- are all in this blatant inhuman repression that goes against the very grain of democracy. It is absolutely bizarre that calling the chief minister a “puppet” of the Centre , is anti-national and a threat to the security and integrity of the nation. This case including many in other parts of India, clearly reveal the mindset of those ruling the country. If the same people with the same mindset return to power , individual freedom would be a thing of the past when draconian laws would be used to slap people with treason for criticising those in power.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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