Journalists should not be jailed like this: United Nation too criticizes Zubair’s arrest

News Network
June 29, 2022

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Journalists should not be jailed for “what they write, what they tweet and what they say” and it is important that people be allowed to express themselves freely without the threat of any harassment, a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said referring to the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair in India.

Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday after a self proclaimed Hanuman Bhakt claimed that he hurt him by posting a Bollywood film screenshot.

“I think, first of all, in any place around the world, it is very important that people be allowed to express themselves freely, journalists be allowed to express themselves freely and without the threat of any harassment,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on Tuesday while responding to a question at the daily news briefing here on Zubair’s arrest.

 “Journalists should not be jailed for what they write, what they tweet and what they say. And that goes for anywhere in the world, including in this room,” Dujarric said in response to another question by a Pakistani journalist on whether he is also calling for Zubair's release from custody.

Meanwhile, New York-based independent non-profit, non-governmental organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also condemned Zubair's arrest.

“The arrest of journalist Mohammad Zubair marks another low for press freedom in India, where the government has created a hostile and unsafe environment for members of the press reporting on sectarian issues,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, in Washington, DC.

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Zubair, and allow him to pursue his journalistic work without further interference," he said.

Zubair's arrest came days after the Gujarat authorities arrested Teesta Setalvad on charges of "criminal conspiracy, forgery and placing false evidence in court to frame innocent people" in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

UN Human Rights has voiced concern over the arrest and detention of social activist Setalvad and called for her immediate release.

“#India: We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 #GujaratRiots," UN Human Rights tweeted Tuesday.

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday remanded Setalvad and former state director general of police RB Sreekumar in police custody till July 2 in a case of fabricating evidence to frame innocent persons in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. Former IPS officer and accused Sanjiv Bhatt, who is serving life sentence in a custodial death case and is lodged in a jail in Palanpur in Banaskantha district, will be brought to Ahmedabad on a transfer warrant.

Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt are accused of abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate evidence with an attempt to frame innocent people for an offence punishable with capital punishment in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. 

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News Network
August 6,2022

Bengaluru, Aug 6: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19 with mild symptoms.

His trip to New Delhi stands cancelled. The CM is under self-isolation.

Bommai was to travel to New Delhi today to take part in third meeting of the national committee of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' and NITI Aayog's Governing Council meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening and August 7 morning respectively.

He was also expected to meet BJP's national leadership and hold discussions regarding recent developments in the state and preparations for 2023 assembly polls. 

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News Network
August 5,2022

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New Delhi, Aug 5: Congress interim president and MP Sonia Gandhi is leading a protest of party MPs against inflation and unemployment in Parliament. 

Congress MPs are wearing black clothes in protest against rising prices. "This protest is about price rise and Agnipath. Price rise affects everybody. As a political party and as elected representatives we are bound to voice the grievances, the burdens and the fears of the people. This is what we are doing," Congress MP and senior leader P Chidambaram. 

"Inflation has risen beyond the limit. The government will have to do something about it. This is why we're fighting," Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said. 

The party is holding nationwide protests against price rise, unemployment and the GST hike on essential items today. It will take out a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and 'gherao' the prime minister's residence as part of the protest. 

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News Network
August 15,2022

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Bengaluru, Aug 15: Amid controversy over excluding first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the Karnataka government’s newspaper advertisement on freedom fighters, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday took a dig at the Congress and said he is proud of the RSS’ ideals and bowed his head to its patriotism.

Clarifying that he and his government respects Nehru, using whose name Congress ruled the country for 65 years, he said and accused the grand old party of neglecting other national icons like B R Ambedkar and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

“In the government’s advertisement yesterday, we had mentioned about some freedom fighters, who were even never heard of before with their photos, no one spoke good about it, instead of it, they (Congress) are sad that one of their leader’s names was missing,” Bommai said.

Speaking at a BJP event to commemorate 75th anniversary of India’s independence, he said, “We haven’t forgotten him and his works. We have respect for Nehru. In fact, there is a picture of him in that ad.” “Someone said, Bommai has become an RSS slave, I want to tell that I bow down my head to its (RSS) ideals and principles and that patriotism. I’m committed to build the country on those ideals and principles and I’m proud of it,” he said.

The Congress on Sunday took strong exception to the exclusion of Nehru in the newspaper advertisement on freedom fighters and termed the BJP government’s action “pathetic”.

Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had called Bommai an “RSS slave”, while AICC general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in the state Randeep Surjewala had said the BJP’s hatred for the country’s first prime minister had reached its zenith.

State BJP General Secretary N Ravi Kumar, had however, said Nehru’s name was omitted “intentionally”, as he was responsible for the partition of the country.

The Chief Minister further hit out at the Congress, accusing it of not allowing B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, to come to Parliament, and neglecting his memory for years.

Further pointing out that the families of several national icons like Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ambedkar are today not in mainstream politics, without naming anyone, he said those people who got politically benefited because of the freedom struggle will have to answer about the ill things that exist today like- appeasement politics.

Stating that no one can change the history of the freedom struggle, Bommai said, “but those writing history have tried to change it for 75 years. Now the time has come to speak out the truth and make people know the truth. We have got freedom because of the sacrifice of thousands of unnamed youth, farmers, labourers.” This 75th anniversary of India’s Independence should be dedicated to the unnamed freedom fighters of the country, he said.

Earlier in the day, in his address at the 76th Independence Day event at the Manekshaw Parade Ground here, the Chief Minister, taking a veiled dig at the Congress, pointed out at attempts to “forget” national icons like Ambedkar, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Abdul Ghaffar Khan among others.

He also said that all Prime Ministers so far and leaders of the country have contributed to India’s progress in their own way, and there is no question of forgetting anyone.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set up a Prime Ministers’ Museum in New Delhi to highlight each one’s contribution, Bommai further said “If any Prime Minister had thought about making known the contributions of various PMs to the country it is Modi. There is no question of forgetting anyone here. Everyone has contributed in their own way. Only PMs have not contributed, there are several luminaries who have contributed.”

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