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Police action against journos in Gujarat, HP 'blot' on democracy: Press Club of India

By Our Representative
The Press Club of India, in a statement addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda, has said that they must bring sanity to a "string of seemingly malafide actions against journalists by BJP-run states and Centre-controlled Union Territories."
Citing "deplorable police actions" in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the statement referring to the sedition charge against Dhaval Patel, editor of a Gujarati news portal, said, his only fault was to “publish a news story hinting that the top leadership in New Delhi was contemplating change of chief minister in Gujarat as the incumbent has failed to offer guidance in the fight against the new corona pandemic.”
“It is clear that an example has been sought to be made of this editor”, the statement says, adding, “Other newspapers in Ahmedabad which followed up on the same important news have so far not been threatened. It is strange that in this case policemen should arrogate to themselves the right and the authority to be arbiters of the validity of political news and developments. This is how police states operate.”
As for Himachal Pradesh, the statement says, “Six journalists from various districts of the state have reportedly had as many as ten FIRs registered against them. The reason for this unwanted police attention is that the journalists in question have reported on the plight of migrant workers and on the shortcomings of the state authorities in dealing with relief and in the fight against Covid-19.”
Calling these actions “a blot to our democratic aspirations”, the statement says, the journalists ere merely involved “legitimate areas of enquiry for journalists and examples of high-handed and irregular behaviour by those in authority.”
It adds, “Before these cases in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the administration and police in Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi Police had already presented shocking examples of suppression of the media so that their questionable actions do not get to be known to the wider world.”

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