After Editors Guild, Indian Women’s Press Corps also expresses concern, demands withdrawal of cases against journalists
NEW DELHI — Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday questioned the misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against journalists and activists by police for their social media posts on communal violence that took place in Tripura in October.
Gandhi took to Twitter as he slammed the BJP government for “shooting the messenger” as he said that use of hashtag #Tripura_Is_Burning was “a call for corrective action”.
“Truth can’t be silenced by #UAPA,” he said.
The hashtag was first used by journalist Shyam Meera Singh in a tweet in response to the anti-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists in Tripura in late October.
On Saturday, his Twitter handle was among 102 social media handles against which Tripura Police have registered a case under the UAPA for posting content that police said “promoted hatred among communities”.
The case under UAPA sparked outrage as people are saying that the police were trying to silence voices seeking accountability instead of taking action against culprits.
Tripura witnessed a spate of ant-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists for more than a week in late October, attacking mosques and Muslim properties. The attacks were done in apparent retaliation to the violence in Bangladesh where Hindu temples and shrines were targeted by Muslims following allegations of desecration of the Holy Quran on October 13. The government of Bangladesh managed to contain violence by taking strict measures including arrest of culprits.
Meanwhile, a day after the Editors Guild condemned the Tripura Police, Indian Women’s Press Corps also came out in defence of journalists. In a statement on Monday, it expressed shock and dismay at the case against Singh and other journalists. “It is a journalist’s job to inform, to highlight and present a true picture of the events. It is not the journalist’s job to please people in power,” IWPC said in the statement, demanding that the cases be withdrawn and let the journalists work freely.