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Mainstream, VOL LX No 16, New Delhi, April 9, 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, April 9, 2022

Friday 8 April 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, April 9, 2022

The number of instances of government agencies in India moving against writers, journalists and human rights activists keeps growing. A string of recent incidents against media persons confirm the disturbing trend. Aakar Patel the well-known columnist and former head of Amnesty India was stopped from taking an international flight on April 6, 2022 on grounds that he was on a look circular of a central investigating agency. A Delhi court later allowed Aakar Patel to travel abroad and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to withdraw its lookout notice. On April 7 the Airport immigration again stopped Patel from boarding his flight despite the Delhi court’s order [1] And the very next day on April 8 a special CBI Court struck down the previous judicial order and barred Patel from leaving India without the prior permission. On April 2, the police arrested, stripped, and humiliated Kanishk Tewari, a local journalist in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh for reporting on a incident involving a BJP MLA [2], and on April 5 in Balasore, Odissa a TV journalist who had reported alleged corruption in the Nilgiri police station area was brutally assaulted by Police and was later chained to his hospital bed [3]. On April 3, 2022, a group of five journalists from the New Delhi who were reporting on a politico-religious event of the Far right Hindutva circles held in North Delhi, were attacked by a Hindutva mob; the journalists have accused the police of not coming to their rescue [4]. In Balia, Uttar Pradesh state, three journalists Ajit Kumar Ojha, Digvijay Singh and Manoj Gupta were arrested on April 1, for reporting on the leak of the Class XII English examination paper. Exam paper leaks has become a huge menace in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states in the recent years. The journalists who should have been commended for doing a fine job of exposing the work of the Mafia behind paper leaks were hauled up instead [5]. A few days earlier on March 29, 2022, Rana Ayub, a noted Journalist from Mumbai, was stopped from traveling abroad. She later approached the Delhi High Court which overruled the government agencies and permitted her to travel [6] All these incidents of excesses against media persons are a cause of serious concern.

April 9, 2022 – HK

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