The Manipur High Court has ordered the release of television anchor Kishorechandra Wangkhem who was charged with sedition under the National Security Act (NSA) for criticising Chief Minister N.Biren Singh on social media.
The release order came more than four months after he was lodged in the Sajiwa Central Jail on the outskirts of Imphal on November 27 last year and days ahead of the election to the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat on April 18.
“The court has released my husband’s after revoking NSA. We expect him to be released from jail soon,” Mr Wangkhem’s wife Ranjita Elangbam said on Monday.
Mr Wangkhem had taken to Facebook to condemn the Chief Minister – with some incendiary words – for organising a function to mark Rani of Jhansi's battle against the British and linking it to Manipur’s freedom movement. He had said the CM was the “Centre’s puppet”.
Soon after the charges against him, local news channel ISTV had fired Mr. Wangkhem for not abiding by its guidelines. The association of local media persons declined to stand by him because of a resolution not to support any member who aired personal opinions beyond the call of duty.
Ms. Elangbam had in March told the court that her husband developed serious health problems after being ill-treated in custody.
Mr. Wangkhem’s detention had attracted global criticism. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had written a letter to Ms. Elangbam condemning his detention, which he said was “another attempt to use the State machinery to silence dissent”.