Amid Arnab Goswami’s Arrest, Manipuri Journalist Jailed over 1 Month Comes to Limelight

Kishorchandra Wangkhemcha was booked for responding to a viral social media post made by a high-profile BJP politician’s wife. The post was in response to a reportedly derogatory comment and a “racial slur”’ about her made by a Meitei woman close to her husband.

While the entire nation is voicing their opinion on Republic TV Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami’s arrest in the 2018 Anvay Naik Case, Kishorchandra Wangkhemcha, a Manipuri TV journalist, who has been in an Imphal prison for over a month now, charged over Facebook posts still awaits justice.

Reportedly, journalist Kishorchandra was arrested on September 29, 2020 for the second time on charges of inciting enmity between two communities. He is currently detained at the Sajiwa Central Jail in Imphal East.

According to the local media reports, Kishorchandra was booked for responding to a viral social media post made by a high-profile BJP politician’s wife.  The post was in response to a reportedly derogatory comment and a “racial slur”’ about her made by a Meitei woman close to her husband.

The police, who had opted to turn a blind eye to the alleged post by the woman close to the BJP politician, suddenly swung into action after Kishorchandra commented on the post, according to his wife Ranjita Elangbam.

Despite requests, Kishorchand is awaiting bail even after more than four weeks.

Ranjita claimed there is political pressure at play which has led to complacency and inaction over the arrest.

Ranjita also scoffed at Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s condemnation of Arnab Goswami’s arrest, calling out the concern as disingenuous.

“Physically assaulted & arrested of Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami by Mumbai police is an attack on press freedom. I strongly condemn such politically motivated act of the Maharashtra govt”, the minister added.

It is to be mentioned here that a host of politicians including Home Minister, Amit Shah called the arrest of Arnab Goswami a ‘Political Vendetta’.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has called the arrest of the Republic TV journalist “a Black Day for Indian democracy.”

“I strongly condemn the assault on senior journalist Arnab Goswami by Mumbai police. Vendetta politics should be stopped and freedom of the press should be maintained in Maharashtra by releasing Mr Goswami immediately,” the Assam CM posted on Twitter.

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) was also not left out and condemned “the sudden arrest and find it extremely distressing.”

“The Guild calls upon the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to ensure that Goswami is treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media,” it said in a statement.

Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also responded to the arrest and termed it “emergency days in Maharasthra”.

“Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami physically assaulted & arrested by Mumbai police is nothing but muzzling freedom of the press by the vindictive M’rashtra govt. Strongly condemn this shameless politically motivated Mumbai police action. It’s like Emergency days in Maharashtra,” posted the Minister on Twitter.

Notably, in April 2019, Kishorchandra was arrested under sedition charges for his statement against the Chief Minister. He had condemned his decision to commemorate Rani of Jhansi’s battle against the British in Imphal and had alleged that Rani Lakshmibai had nothing to do with Manipur.

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