Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a Manipuri journalist who was arrested last week for a social media post, has now been charged under the National Security Act, NDTV .
Wangkhem, along with a social activist, Erendro Leichombam, was arrested for allegedly alluding to BJP leader Saikhom Tikendra Singh’s death from Covid in a Facebook post. "Cow dung, cow urine didn’t work. Groundless argument. Tomorrow I will eat fish," the journalist’s post read, presumably taking a dig at Saikhom’s fellow Hindu nationalists who have peddled cow dung and cow urine as a Covid cure. Another post by Leichombam said the cure for coronavirus was “not cow dung and cow urine” but “science and common sense”.
According to NDTV, their posts were referring to pictures and videos by news agency Reuters showing a group of people smearing cow dung and urine over their bodies to prevent or cure Covid.
In any case, the posts prompted a police complaint by BJP general secretary P Premananda Meitei and vice president Usham Deben.
On Monday, an Imphal court ordered that the journalist be detained under the National Security Act “until further orders” even as it granted him bail. The court also ruled that Wangkhem should be "prevented from commission of such prejudicial activities".
Responding to the court order, Chongtham Victor, lawyer for Wangkhem and Leichombam, told : “They are just making statements on cow dung and cow urine and those words are being used by many people and not just by them. So simply reciprocating to those words or statements and slapping the NSA to this extent, which is a draconian law, will not be a nice episode in the history of India.”
According to NDTV, Wangkhem is facing NSA charges for the second time since 2018, when he was held for a social media post criticising chief minister N Biren Singh. He had been in and out of jail several times since then.