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Shah, Gul and Kappan must be released to 'preserve' press freedom, Tharoor demands in the LS

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Shah, Gul and Kappan must be released to preserve press freedom, Tharoor demands in the LS
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Dr Shashi Tharoor 

In a statement on Friday, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to facilitate the immediate and unconditional release of journalists Fahad Shah, Sajad Gul and Siddique Kappan "in the interests of preserving free speech in India."

During Zero Hour, bringing the issue up in Lok Sabha, Tharoor remarked that while Shah and Gul were arrested on charges of sedition and under the Public Safety Act respectively, Kappan has been detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Uttar Pradesh.

"Journalists deserve to be able to do their job safely without fear of arrest or harassment. The Supreme Court too has recognised the importance of dissent in a vibrant democracy stating that a free and independent press is a vital pillar of democracy, which supports an informed and democratically-engaged citizenry, and allows those in power to be held accountable more meaningfully," Tharoor said. India, he said, is among the five most dangerous countries in the world at the moment for journalists.

Tharoor's demand was also backed by National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi.

In the meantime, BSP MP Danish Ali has called for reopening of universities, mentioning in particular Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. He has also called for the appointment of a new vice-chancellor for AMU.

Ali, MP from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, noted: "It has been two years since the educational institutions remained closed, and many schools and colleges have now been opened. The government is opening up everything, but these premier institutions (Jamia and AMU) are still closed."

According to BJP MP Uday Pratap Singh, a law should be enacted to implement a two-child policy to curb population growth.

During Zero Hour, Singh said, "The country does not have the capacity to support 135 crore people. In the future, the population is projected to reach 160 crore, which will be a strain on national resources."

In Jharkhand, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said the government should restrict reservations for Hindus who convert to Christianity. "Under Article 341 for Scheduled Castes, it is clearly mentioned that if they convert to any other religion, their status as SC will cease to exist," he said. Moreover, he asked that a similar provision be introduced under Article 342 for Scheduled Tribes to discourage them from converting.

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TAGS:Tharoor Press Freedom Fahad Shah Gulf Siddique Kappan 
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