The BJP-led coalition government in Manipur is facing mounting pressure from the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), the Press Council of India (PCI), various students’ organisations, and political parties to release Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha, a local cable network journalist arrested on November 27 under the National Security Act (NSA).He was arrested earlier for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for observing the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi in Imphal. The journalist had contended in his Facebook message that the Rani of Jhansi had nothing to do with Manipur and the anniversary was observed at the directives of the Centre.On November 26, the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal west, released Mr. Wangkhemcha on bail saying that his message did not amount to “sedition”. However, the government arrested him the next day under the NSA. Ranjita, his wife, said the police did not furnish reasons for the arrest when they raided their house.The Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) in a statement appealed to all to raise their voice against this “blatant violation” of human rights. MUSU general secretary I. Kennedy wondered how a few words by Mr. Wangkhemcha could pose a threat to national security.Report soughtThe Press Council of India (PCI) has registered a suo motu case on the arrest. PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad has directed the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police to submit a report on the arrest.The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) said that it curtailed the freedom of expression and was a blatant misuse of the NSA. In a statement, IJU president and PCI member Amar Devulapalli and secretary-general Sabina Inderjit said: “The arrest must be seen as an attack on freedom of expression and most undemocratic”.‘Case holds no water’A prominent Manipur High Court advocate told The Hindu on Tuesday that the State government should have gone to the High Court against the ruling of the CJM, Imphal West, if it wanted to arrest the journalist under the NSA. The government’s justification will not hold water if Mr. Wangkhemcha goes to the High Court challenging his detention under the NSA as the lower court had ruled that his case did not amount to sedition.The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) has, however, said it would not get involved in the issue. AMWJU president Brozendra Ningombam said: “There is a resolution which says that the AMWJU shall not get involved in matters which have nothing to do with the profession of a journalist”.Mr. Wangkhemcha’s wife is miffed that no help was extended to her husband from any circle.Congress MLA and party spokesperson Joykishan Khumukcham said the BJP-led government was out to muzzle the voices of journalists and all others. He dared the authorities to arrest him since he too was a critic of the government.
Reacting to orders from the Chief Minister’s office, the District Magistrate of Saharanpur inspected the under-construction library in the sprawling Darul Uloom campus in Deoband on Saturday.Vikas Tyagi, zonal coordinator of the Bajrang Dal, had made a complaint to the CM’s office that a helipad was being built on top of the huge structure.District Magistrate Alok Kumar had asked the administration to submit a report. Unsatisfied, he made a detailed inspection of the site with SSP Dinesh Kumar and PWD engineers. After the inspection, Mr Kumar told the media that there was no trace of a helipad on the rooftop but the university administration did not ask for permission for addition to the existing structures and building of new structures from the authorities concerned. “Action will be taken in this regard as per law,” he said. Responding to the action, Maulana Arshad Madani, national president of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said: “This is for the first time that the local administration has undertaken an inspection after a complaint, which seemed to be motivated, was lodged. We will abide by the rules and take necessary permissions in future.”