Rahul Gandhi’s January 20 letter, expressing solidarity with jailed journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem came as a big boost to his wife, Elangbam Ranjita.
Ranjita has been fighting against the detention of her husband, who has been detained for 12 months under the National Security Act (NSA) for a Facebook post criticising the BJP-led Manipur government and Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
Ranjita expected Opposition parties in Manipur, particularly the Congress, to mount pressure on the government in the run-up to the general elections in the state.
So far, the campaign for the two Lok Sabha seats in Manipur has only disappointed her.
Talking to DH over the phone from Imphal, Ranjita, a mother of two minor daughters, asked why the opposition wasn’t questioning the BJP about her husband’s detention.
Your husband fell ill recently inside the jail. How is he now?
He was better today when I visited him in jail. He was repeatedly asking me if he will be released before the elections. He wants to be freed soon so that he can cast his vote against the government. He also asked me if the opposition parties were talking about his undemocratic detention but I had no answer.
When is the next hearing of his petition in the high court?
The hearings concluded in Manipur high court on March 4 but the court reserved its judgement. We have full faith in the judiciary and hope that he will be released before the elections.
Why is he so angry against the BJP government?
The BJP government is trying to distort our history, history of the Meitei community in Manipur and trying to impose the Hindutva ideology. They are celebrating Rani of Jhansi’s birth anniversary instead of celebrating the valour of freedom fighters from Manipur. Instead of listening to his dissenting voice, the BJP government imposed sedition charges, which was dismissed by a court in Imphal. But instead of respecting the court’s verdict, the government again detained him under NSA. We are talking about democratic values in this election but was his detention for just criticising the government not undemocratic?
Has any party come forward to help you in your fight for his release?
Congress president Rahul Gandhi sent a letter expressing his solidarity and promised to stand with us. But I am surprised now why his party is not vocal against the undemocratic detention. Why Congress and other parties are not making it an issue to attack the ruling BJP before the elections? My two daughters keep asking about why their father has been jailed. They don’t believe that he has been jailed for just speaking against the government.
Why do you think the opposition parties are not so vocal about it?
Don’t know why they are silent. Maybe they are thinking it is a personal matter. It is not. What has happened to us, can happen to others, if we don’t stand up today and raise our voice to protect our fundamental right of speech.