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Manipur journalist detained under National Security Act for Facebook video

Imphal-based journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem has been in detention under the National Security Act since November 27 for uploading a video criticising Prime Minister Modi and Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, reports Scroll. Wangkhem has been detained “with a view to prevent him from acting in any matter prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintenance of public order.”

In fact, he was arrested within 24 hours of a chief judicial magistrate court dismissing a sedition charge against him. A few days before this detention, the Manipur police arrested Wangkhem for posting a video critical of Manipur CM N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Modi on Facebook. The Manipur police then charged him with sedition, inciting hatred, and defamation.

However, on November 25, the chief judicial magistrate of West Imphal dismissed the sedition charge and granted him bail for the other charges. The court had maintained that the remarks in the video were not seditious. Per Indian Express, the court order says the remarks were a “mere expression of opinion against the Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Manipur which cannot be equated with an attack to invite people to violence against the government of India or Manipur to topple it.”

Wangkhem was arrested in August for Facebook posts

On November 27, a new order issued by the district magistrate of West Imphal said Wangkhem would be arrested under Section 3(2) of the National Security Act (NSA), 1980, until further orders. According to the order, Wangkhem “would resume activities which are prejudicial to the security of the state and to the maintain of public order, as he is a habitual offender invoking offences that intends to cause fear or alarm to the public…he should be prevented from commission of such prejudicial activities through an alternative preventive measure.”

Wangkhem was previously arrested in August, also for Facebook posts critical of the ruling BJP. DC Naorem Praveen Singh refused to give more details of Wangkhem’s detention under NSA. “As per the NSA [National Security Act], we get five days of time to give the grounds for detention,” he said, per Scroll.in. “We are in the process of doing that, we cannot make anything public before that.”

This is not unheard of: In 2014, two girls were arrested after Shiv Sena members in Palghar were annoyed with a comment a girl made against a bandh, following the death of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thakeray, while the other girl had liked the comment.

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