At least 87 prominent journalists have signed a petition to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh for the release of journalist Wangkhem Kishorechandra who has been detained under National Security Act (NSA).
In the petition, the journalists from across the country expressed that they are ‘deeply disturbed’ by the decision to ‘subject’ Manipur journalist Wangkhem Kishorechandra to one year of preventive detention over videos posted by him on Facebook criticizing the Chief Minister.
“We find the very invocation by your government of the draconian National Security Act 1980 in this context utterly arbitrary, highhanded and vindictive,” the petition read.
The petition further stated that it was evident from the fact that when Kishorechandra was picked up under NSA on November 27, it was actually a day after he had been released by an Imphal court from an attempt to frame him on the charge of sedition over the same videos.
The journalists who had signed the petition also viewed that the Manipur Government resorted to NSA even after the social media posts, however intemperate their language, had been found to be ‘posing no threat to public order, let alone national security’.
“Your disproportionate reactions betray, besides an intolerance to dissent, a disdain for the rule of law and the constitutional balance between free speech and reasonable restrictions,” the petition further read.
The journalists have urged the Chief Minister to ‘end this gross abuse of power’ by dropping all charges against Kishorechandra and withdrawing immediately the action taken against him under NSA.
The 87 prominent journalists have also written to the Union home minister, Rajnath Singh, ministers of State (Home), Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Kiren Rijiju, Union home secretary, Rajiv Gauba, chief secretary, Suresh Babu, DGP LM Khaute and forwarded by the president, Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP), Paranjoy Guha Thakurta