Ranjita Elangbam, wife of detained Manipuri journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, in a letter to the Manipur High Court, demanded the immediate release of the scribe, who had been arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) over a Facebook post.
Elangbam, in the letter, urged the authorities to 'release him expeditiously for the ends of justice'.
Kishorechandra, who has been booked for a Facebook post wherein he criticised the espousal of cow dung and cow urine as means to cure COVID-19, has been in prison since 17 May under the NSA.
Ranjita Elangbam's letter comes a day after political activist Erendro Liechombam, who had been booked under the same charges, was released from jail following an order from the Supreme Court.
Elangbam noted in the letter that since the release of Leichombam on Tuesday, she has approached the authorities to request the revocation of the charges filed against her husband, but has received no response.
""In the meantime and in the given development brought by the Supreme Court of India by intervening into the alike matter of my husband, Mr Erendro Leichombam has been released as stated above. As such I have approached the concerned Home Department (Chief Secretary) of Manipur and District Magistrate bonafidely on 21-07-2021 for revoking NSA slapped against my husband (through emails) in as much as all the allegations, sections whatsoever are similar to each other. However, the same have not responded yet."" - The Letter
The letter, noting that the Kishorechandra has not acted in a manner prejudicial to the State or the public order, also laid emphasis on the sincere intent behind the Kishorechandra's Facebook post, which has led to his detention.
"His said uploading was a very sincere expression for not agreeing with the unscientific treatment of the present corona pandemic where even the scientific test are being done on the experimental basis. The said caption was not aimed to hurt the feeling of anyone or any group but rather my disagreement with the treatment by using cow dung and cow urine which has no scientific basis," the letter noted.
Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem and activist Erendro Leichombom had been arrested in May over their posts on Facebook, which criticised the endorsement of cow dung and cow urine as cures for COVID-19. The posts had been made following the death of former Manipur BJP president Professor Saikhom Tikendra Singh, who had succumbed to COVID-19 in May this year.
In his Facebook post, Leichombam had written: “The cure for Corona is not cow dung & cow urine. The cure is science & common sense. Professor ji RIP. (sic)”
Meanwhile, Wangkhem wrote: “Cow dung cow urine didn’t work. Groundless argument. Tomorrow I will eat fish."
The two were then arrested on 13 May after an FIR was filed on the basis of a complaint by the state BJP vice president Usham Deban and general secretary P Premananda Meetei.
They were charged under section 153-A (promoting enmity between groups)/505(b) (2) (making statement with an intent to incite and cause mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The two were subsequently charged under the NSA on 17 May.
More than two months after the duo were arrested, authorities in Manipur on Monday, 19 July, had released activist Erendro Leichombam on the Supreme Court's orders.
"He cannot be kept in jail even for a day. We will order his release today," the Supreme Court said, noting that his further incarceration 'would be a violation of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21', Bar&Bench reported.
(With inputs from Bar&Bench)
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