The distance between Delhi and Imphal, as the crow flies, is 1,712 km. But Manipur’s capital is light years from the national capital for the sauntering cows and fattened calves grazing on the saffron lawns of Lutyens Dilli.
While a loosely used label to describe ANI editor Smita Prakash got every one from BJP publicity in-charge Arun Jaitley to the Editors Guild of India—and other birds of a feather—all het up, the plight of Kishorchandra Wangkhem barely elicits a reaction.
The Bangalore daily Deccan Herald stands up for the cable TV journalist in India’s northeast who has spent a fortnight in the cooler for the cardinal sin of blaspheming the presiding deity of WhatsApp University: Narendra Modi.
Under charge of sedition.
“It is a shocking case of State excess. Such draconian action has not been taken against journalists in the country, except during the Emergency when fundamental rights had been suspended.…
“It is a violation of all basic rights, including freedom of expression. The chief minister cannot consider himself above criticism, and criticism of the government is not sedition.
“The action against Wangkhem is another instance of treating all criticism and questioning as anti-national acts. It is an authoritarian action most incompatible with democracy and the rule of law.“
For academically minded frequent flyers, the distance from Bangalore to Imphal is 2,162 km.
The Hindu did an editorial on the Manipuri journalist on December 21.
“The detention of a journalist in Manipur under the stringent National Security Act for a social media post is a clear instance of misuse of power and a blatant violation of his rights as a citizen.
“It indicates a dangerous trend among those wielding power to invoke laws aimed at preserving public order and security in a casual or vindictive manner, with utter disregard for constitutional provisions that uphold individual liberty.“
The distance between Madras and Imphal is 1,937 km.
Read the full DH editorial: Free Manipur journalist now
Read the full Hindu edit: Misusing NSA: the detention of a Manipuri journalist
Also read: Shajila Fathima, the unpliable