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#BetiUthao- Statement against RSS attack on journalist Neha Dixit and press freedom

neha

We, the undersigned journalists, activists and academics, condemn in the strongest terms, the brazen attack launched by RSS organizations and individuals on journalist Neha Dixit and Outlook magazine for a thorough investigative report by Dixit based on three months of field work. This report revealed how different Sangh outfits trafficked 31 tribal girls, some as young as three years, from tribal areas of Assam, to Punjab and Gujarat. Orders were issued to these organizations by the Assam State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, the Child Welfare Committee (Kokrajhar), the State Child Protection Society, and Childline (Delhi and Patiala), to return the children to Assam. These orders were violated with impunity by Sangh-run institutions with the help of the Gujarat and Punjab governments.

On the publication of this report in Outlook, a police complaint was lodged at Latasil Police Station on grounds of inciting communal hatred, and the police registered an FIR against Indranil Roy (Publisher), Krishna Prasad (Editor) of Outlook and Neha Dixit, writer of the story. The complainants are Bijon Mahajan (BJP spokesperson and Gauhati High Court advocate), Mominul Awwal (BJP Minority Cell) and Subhash Chandra Kayal (Assistant Solicitor General).

Instead of launching an investigation into the trafficking, the police have chosen to act on a frivolous and motivated complaint against those who exposed the crime.  We demand that the police immediately file charges against those who conduct child trafficking.

In addition, RSS organizations have started a campaign targeting Neha Dixit and Outlook in social media, claiming “defamation”, and we can expect more trumped up police complaints and legal interventions. We are also aware that these Hindutva brigades often take the law into their own hands, unleashing violence with impunity, emboldened by the current regime.

RSS organizations and individuals have long used the law and police machinery to hound artists and intellectuals from MF Hussain to Ashis Nandy, invoking the legal section of “inciting communal hatred” to stifle freedom of expression, using it whenever their own communally violent and hate-inducing tactics and actions are revealed and made public. Journalists are particularly vulnerable, as their investigative reports that reveal RSS organizations’ strategies to attack minorities, Hinduise tribals and created hatred between communities, are themselves targeted as “inciting communal hatred”.

We condemn these familiar and reprehensible tactics of the RSS machinery and appeal to our legal justice system to be alert to the misuse of courts and legal machinery by these forces.

We also demand that all criminal action against Neha Dixit and Outlook be dropped, as this is an intolerable attack on freedom of the press to publish thoroughly researched articles in the public interest.

This statement is being posted with the hundred-plus signatures  Please endorse in the comments section if you wish to do so.

Pamela Philipose

Siddharth Varadarajan

Vidya Subrahmaniam

Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal

Om Thanvi

Manoj Joshi

Jyoti Malhotra

Monobina Gupta

Akshaya Mukul

Ajoy Ashirwad

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed

Abhimanyu Kumar

Pheroze L Vincent

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

Ritwik Sharma

Sarthak Ray

Sevanti Ninan

Geeta Seshu

Swati Bhattacharjee

Mannika Chopra

Shuma Raha

Shruti Ganpatye

Raksha Kumar

Anam Mittra

Vinaya Deshpande

Indira Jaising

Shabnam Hashmi

Ilina Sen

Harsh Mander

Lalita Ramdas

Kavita Krishnan

Vrinda Grover

Kavita Srivastava

Deepti Sharma

Aditya Shrivastava

Mihira Sood

Pyoli Swatija

Achin Vanaik

Susie Tharu

Jayati Ghosh

J Devika

Apoorvanand

Gautam Bhan

Sunalini Kumar

Jyotirmaya Sharma

Janaki Nair

Rohini Hensman

Radhika Singha

Ritu Dewan

Bishnupriya Paul

V Sujatha

Kumkum Roy

Supriya Varma

Karthik Bittu

Anita Ghai

Sujata Patel

Satish Deshpande

Nivedita Menon

Baidik Bhattacharya

Aditya Nigam

Virginia Saldanha
Shilpa Phadke

Mary John

Urvashi Butalia

Ritu Menon

Aniket Alam

Shipra Nigam

Kalyani Menon-Sen

Ankita Anand

Amrita Nandy

Anuradha Banerji

Vineeta Bal

Japleen Pasricha

Meena Saraswati Seshu

Arundhati Duru

Sandhya Srinivasan

Monisha Behal

Abha Bhaiya

Aruna Burte

Jeevika

Jhuma Sen

Papori Bora

Dipa Sinha

G Arunima

Lata Singh

Ranjani Mazumdar

Rachana Johri

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Rimple Mehta

Pramada Menon

Geetha Nambisan

Aarthi Pai

Virginia Saldanha

Vidya Reddy

Pushpa

Vasudha Mohanka

Urvashi Sarkar

Sarojini NB

Soma KP

Kavitha Muralidharan

Veena Poonacha

Deepa Venkatachalam

Ranjana Padhi

Shambhavi Prakash

Guneet Ahuja

Meena Menon

Moushumi Basu

T K Rajalakshmi

Ahilan Kadirgamar
Aman Sethi
Aditya Nigam
apoorvanand
Dan Husain
subhash gatade
jdevika
Lawrence Liang
mukulsharma
Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Nivedita Menon
ponni
prashantjha
ravikant
Ravi Sundaram
Shivam Vij
Sohail Hashmi
Sunalini Kumar
Shivam Vij
Gautam Bhan
Zainab Bawa

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Comment (1)

  1. Bhalchandra Kango

    RSS design and planning to use state machinery against opponents or critics is well known .we must stand together against such anti democratic trends and actions and organizations

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