Journalist Wangkhem, who was working as an anchor-reporter for a local news channel, was arrested on November 21 for posting a Facebook video critical of Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the social media, Wangkhem also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and called chief minister N Biren Singh a “puppet of Hindutva”.
The journalist was booked under the NSA on November 27, and on December 13, a board set up to decide on such detention, approved a 12-month jail term for Wangkhem.
Immediately after his arrest under NSA, several organisations raised voice against it. The news also made headlines in the national media.
Wangkhem moved the High Court against his detention on December 20, 2018.
A report published by The Wire quoted Wangkhem’s wife Ranjita Elangbam as saying: “We have just got the verbal order, waiting for the written order,” adding, “We need to get certain signatures from the state administration which may take two to three days. After that, he would be released from the Sajiwa jail.”
According to media reports, Wangkhem has been suffering from illness since March last and has been admitted to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, a government-owned hospital.
Elangbam has also been quoted as saying: “We learnt from the hospital that his sugar level was very high at 534 after the meal and therefore, the doctors wanted a special diet for him.”
The order stated: “Having come to the conclusion that non-furnishing of the pictures with captions alleged to have been posted on his Facebook Wall by the petitioner and the compact disc containing the four video clips has prevented the petitioner from making an effective representation thereby vitiating the detention order dated 27.11.2018, we are of the considered opinion that it would not be necessary to address the other grounds taken by the petitioner against the detention order dated 27.11.2018.”
Quashing the case, the court order further stated: In the facts and circumstances of what has been discussed —, this writ petition succeeds and, accordingly, the detention order dated 27.11.2018 passed by the District Magistrate, Imphal West along with all other consequential orders are set aside and quashed.”