Delhi police target journalists, satirists, activists critical of Central Govt; link them to terror casetext_fields
New Delhi: In an alleged attempt by the Central government to portray the journalists and news media firms that are critical of the Central government and its policies as terrorists funded to malign the government, the Delhi police raided the homes of several journalists, stand-up comics, satirists, and commentators.
According to officials, the raids are being conducted in a case where several harsher sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have been filed against the journalists, reminiscent of the crackdown on journalists and newspapers during the Emergency era of 1975.
The case in question, FIR number 224/2023, filed on August 17, 2023, invokes multiple sections of the UAPA, as well as sections 153(a) and 120(b) of the Indian Penal Code. While no official statement has been released, sources suggest that the investigations are linked to alleged "terror links."
Among those targeted in the raids are prominent figures such as video journalist Abhisar Sharma, senior journalist Bhasha Singh, veteran journalist Urmilesh, Newsclick editor Prabir Purkayastha, writer Githa Hariharan, journalist Aunindyo Chakravarty, activist and historian Sohail Hashmi, and satirist Sanjay Rajaura. Additionally, activist Teesta Setalvad and veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta have also been subjected to police actions, with Setalvad currently being questioned in Mumbai.
The reports suggest that police have visited the homes of Newsclick employees across various roles, seizing their devices. Reports indicate that scientist and writer D. Raghunandan, associated with the Delhi Science Forum, has been "taken away by the police."
The current FIR is said to trace its origins to an August report by the New York Times. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had cited this report in the Lok Sabha, alleging that Congress leaders and NewsClick had received funds from China to create an "anti-India" atmosphere.
Sources say that Sanjay Rajaura has been taken to the Special Cell, Lodhi Road, for questioning, but the police assert that he is not being arrested immediately. Other individuals have reported the confiscation of their devices, laptops, and phones by the police.
The Press Club of India has expressed concern over the raids and announced that it will release a detailed statement. The developments have ignited a debate on the balance between national security and press freedom, with advocates calling for transparency and adherence to legal norms in the investigation process.