Kishorechandra Wangkhem

Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem was arrested in May 2021 and charged under the National Security Act (NSA).


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. According to The Wire, at least 194 journalists were targeted across the country and by state agencies, non-state political actors, and armed opposition groups in 2022.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired.

Life and Activism

Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem has consistently been targeted by the BJP government in Manipur since 2018, when he posted a video on social media that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Manipur chief Minister Biren Singh and the Hindu militant group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, according to The Wire. Since 2018, Wangkhem has been in and out of jail since 2018 and has been charged under many sections of the India Penal Code (IPC) and under the National Security Act. The Manipur high court eventually overturned those charges against Wangkhem. In September 2020, Wangkhem was charged with Section 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc.) of the IPC and was later released in December 2020 after two months in jail.

In May 2021, Kishorechandra Wangkhem and activist Erendro Leichombam were arrested after the Manipur police received a complaint that they insulted Manipur BJP president Saikhom Tikendra Singh, who had contracted COVID-19, on a Facebook post. After the president passed away, Kishorechandra Wangkhem wrote on his Facebook page, “Santhi Sanyung na yadrabo, oh!!! RIP #Rashikang_Kangyet Hayeng nga chaani.” (Rough translation: Cow dung cow urine didn’t work. Groundless argument. Tomorrow I will eat fish.)

Upon posting this, an FIR was lodged against both Wangkhem and Leichombam 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).

His arrest was widely criticized by activists across India.

Charges and Allegations

Wangkhem was charged under the National Security Act (NSA). 

Current Status

Kishorechandra Wangkhem was released from jail on July 23, 2021. 

Last Update

Released from jail two months after his latest arrest, according to The Wire.

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