The Press Club condemns the hounding of journalist Shireen Dalvi by filing police complaints against her across the city and state. Ms Dalvi, as editor of the Mumbai edition of the Urdu daily Awadhnama, has already published a Page One apology for having reproduced a cover of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in its January 17 issue, which had a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed. She has explained that it was an inadvertent act. Despite that, complaints continue to be filed against her under Sec 295 A, which pertains to “outraging religious sentiments with malicious intent’’.
The slander being spread against Ms Dalvi in sections of the Urdu press as well as on social media, have made it difficult for her to live at home. Since January 17, Ms Dalvi, who is a single parent, and her two college-going children have been staying with friends; the latter have not been able to attend college. The Mumbai edition of Awadhnama has been closed down, rendering Ms Dalvi and its entire staff of the daily jobless.
We see this as a systematic attempt to intimidate a journalist who was merely doing her job, and drive her out of the profession. Her being a woman editor, a rarity in the Urdu media, seems to have has added an edge to her persecution. We call upon the state government to create conditions for her and her children to be able to return home and live in security.
The Press Club is also writing to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also heads the state Home Ministry, to stop the harassment of Shireen Dalvi through trumped up FIRs, and to ensure that she and her children are provided police protection.
Mumbai Press Club
4th February, 2015
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