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Wangkhem Kishorechand walks out of Jail following Manipur High Court order

“As they stand identically situated, we are of the opinion that the continued incarceration of the petitioner’s husband would be as much a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, as it was in the case of Erendro Leichombam”.

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Imphal: Wangkhemcha Wangthoi alias Kishorechand was released on Friday late afternoon from Central Jail, Sajiwa as per an order passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin Singh of Manipur High Court.

The matter came up before the division bench following a letter written by Elangbam Ranjita on July 22, wife of Wangkhemcha Wangthoi which was Writ Petition (criminal)  and was listed for hearing on Friday.

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Referring to the order passed by the Supreme Court on July 19 in the case of Erendro Leichombam which held that his continued detention would amount to a violation of his right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution and directed his release forthwith. The division bench of Manipur High court in their order said that “we find no distinction or difference between the case of the petitioner’s husband and that of Erendro Leichombam”. “Both of them put up similar Facebook posts, critical of the utility of cow dung and cow urine in treating Coronavirus”.

“As they stand identically situated, we are of the opinion that the continued incarceration of the petitioner’s husband would be as much a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, as it was in the case of Erendro Leichombam”.

The order went on to state that, “there shall be an interim direction to the respondents to ensure that the petitioner’s husband, Wangkhemcha Wangthoi @ Kishorchandra, aged 41 years, s/o (L) W. Birendra Singh of Keishamthong Moirangningthou Leirak, P.S. Imphal, District-Imphal West, presently detained in the Central Jail, Sajiwa, is released forthwith and in any event, not later than 5 pm today.”

Wangkhem Kishorechand and Leichombam Erendro were arrested following an FIR by Manipur State BJP vice-president Usham Deban and general secretary P Premananda Meetei over their Facebook posts wherein they said that cow urine and cow dung were no cures for Covid-19 while condoling the death of State BJP president  Tikendra Singh.

They were granted bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal West granted bail May 16, 2021 but were booked under NSA the very next day on July 18.

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