Indian journalist to spend a year in jail for criticizing government
December 19 2018 06:16 PM
Journalist Kishorechand Wangkhem
Journalist Kishorechand Wangkhem

Dpa/New Delhi

An Indian journalist was sentenced to a year in jail under a stringent national security law after he criticized a top government politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his lawyer said Wednesday.

Journalist Kishorechand Wangkhem was arrested in November 27 for uploading videos on social media criticizing the government, his lawyer told dpa.

A panel of judges charged with handling cases under India's National Security Act, backed his arrest on Tuesday, the lawyer said.

Wangkhem uploaded several videos on his Facebook account in November, in which he criticized top politician N Biren Singh, who is the current Chief Minister of Manipur, a state in the north-east of the country.

He criticized Singh for holding celebrations on the birthday of the Rani of Jhansi, a freedom fighter from northern India, who was a popular symbol of India's independence movement under British rule.

Wangkhem had said the Rani had nothing to do with the state of Manipur and called the chief minister a ‘puppet’ of the federal government and a right-wing Hindu nationalist.

The charges against Wangkhem state that these actions and the abusive language and gestures used by him in the videos and similar posts in the past showed he had ‘a seditious attitude’ and was attempting ‘to excite disaffection towards the government.’  The government said his activities were a ‘potential danger ... to the security of the state and maintenance of public order.’ He was given the maximum detention of 12 months permissible under the National Security Act.

According to the latest press freedom rankings released by Reporters Without Borders, India ranks 138, below Algeria and Myanmar.

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