Delhi, Feb 2
Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has asked the public to boycott Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh until journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, who is in jail for uncomplimentary remarks about Biren Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is released.
Wangkhem, who is the news editor of a private channel, was initially arrested for defamation in November and was given bail. He was later re-arrested and sent to detention for a year under the National Security Act.
Wangkhem’s wife Ranjita Elangbam’s plea challenging the Governor’s order is to be heard in Manipur High Court on Friday.
“The people of Manipur should lead India. Your Chief Minister Biren Singh has lost his mind and is drunk on power. Find ways to punish him. First, socially boycott him. Do not go to his social functions and those who do should also be boycotted. Don’t invite him to any function. Treat him like a pariah,” Katju said.
Elangbam, who also spoke at several public meetings here, highlighted the constant harassment of her family, including their two young daughters.
“The community started looking at us as criminals. People stopped talking to us out of fear that they would be arrested too. He (Wangkhem) is now tagged as a habitual offender and false rumours of him being an abusive alcoholic and a womaniser are spreading. Propaganda can’t cover up the truth. As a mother with two small daughters, I don’t know whether there is democracy or human rights?”
Elangbam and her lawyer Shreeji Bhavsar said they were initially not allowed to meet Wangkhem before filing a habeas corpus writ in the high court.
Elangbam credited the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi (MSAD) for their support to get Wangkhem released and for holding several protests here and contacting lawyers.
MSAD president Thokchom Veewom attributed the lack of public outrage to the fatigue of severe state action. “To them (Manipur residents) the National Security Act doesn’t matter as they are conditioned to live in a terrible world. Manipuri society continues to live in a fear. Their conscience is beaten and battered every time they resist.”
Indian Journalists Union Secretary General Sabina Inderjit called this, “the worst case of a government trying to suppress its people from speaking” and called for scribes to throng the courthouse on Friday.
- Published in News