Imphal, Dec 8,
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) today condemned the recent arrest of Manipur journalist, Kishorechandra Wangkhem.
In a statement the NEFIS terms it a draconian measure aimed at suppressing dissent and instilling fear in those opposed to the ruling dispensation, Wangkhem was arrested on November 27 on charges of sedition under the National Security Act (NSA) and sent to jail.
“It should be known that the day before he was granted bail in the case by a CJM court in West Imphal, which had maintained that the 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 statement said.
NEFIS however said that they did not support the indecent language used by the journalist, NEFIS unequivocally stands by his right to freedom of expression. The detention order used to arrest Wangkhem which stated that he was arrested ‘with a view to prevent him from acting in any matter prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintenance of the public order’, is unsustainable jurisprudentially. The arrest unambiguously laid it down that dissent of whatsoever nature would not be tolerated by the powers that be and it should be seen against the backdrop of incidents of curbing of dissent by the central and state governments across the country.
NEFIS further demands that the arrested journalist be immediately released and sedition charges under NSA against him be dropped. NEFIS also urges each and every journalist to rise to the occasion to defend the right to speech and dissent.
Meanwhile, candle light protest planed by the MSAD at Western Kangla Gate today evening has been foiled after the district authority prohibited such protest.