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Silencing the voice of dissent: a disregard to the Freedom of Expression

It is okay for the Government of Manipur to restrict public meetings or mass gatherings to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Even classes of schools and colleges have been suspended till March 31. But the prohibition of gathering to discuss the issue about the nomination of Leishemba Sanajaoba as the BJP candidate to the Rajya Sabha and allowing other gathering is a complete dishonour to the constitution of India which guaranteed all citizens – the right to Freedom of Expression.
Criticism of any policy or decision of a political party or the government is the right of every citizen as long as it is for the cause of the protection of the community’s identity. Simply dictating the people from speaking against the nomination of titular King Sanjaoba using all force without following the rules of law and without respecting the voice of dissent is a sign of defying the provisions provided in the constitution of India.
It is not that Imphal Times supports those voicing against the BJP decision to file Leishemba Sanajaoba as the candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Manipur. What is more concern, is the suppression of freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution of India. When people are forced to keep silent on any decision of a political party using force then the doomsday for democracy is not far.
Some CSOs leaders had stated that Leishemba Sanajaoba cannot be treated as a common person, they have their point. Sanajoaba is the head of an institution that has been protecting the historical pride of the state. Everyone knows how the institution has been groom by the leaders of the civil society organization in the last 20 years. And thus discussion and criticism of the recent political development in connection with the Rajya Saha Election is the right of the people.
Moreover, there is also a heated argument regarding the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as the Rajya Sabha member. A former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph had stated that acceptance of Rajya Sabha nomination by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has certainly shaken the confidence of the common man in the independence of the judiciary, which is also one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India. This former judge talking to a newspaper had stated that he was surprised as to how Justice Ranjan Gogoi who once exhibited such courage of conviction to uphold the independence of the judiciary, has compromised the noble principles on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. The very act of accepting the RS seat may be a first step to put the judiciary under any ruling government.
Criticism is the right of all citizen and if Manipur Government respects the constitution of India they should not have any ban or restriction to CSOs while expressing their view in connection with the nomination of the titular king as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha Election by the BJP.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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