Rights groups slam police action against Tehelka reporter
Sunday December 05, 2010, India
Malegaon: As many as 32 NGOs and Civil Rights groups have extended their support to the Tehelka reporter who is facing criminal charges for her report published in the latest issue of the fortnightly magazine. Criticizing the police action against the journalist, the NGOs have also demanded from the Karnataka Govt to drop all charges against her.
"We strongly urge the Karnataka Government to drop the charges against Shahina and create a harmonious environment for both freedom of expression as well as for the minorities", the NGOs said in a press statement released December 5.
Tehelka reporter KK Shahina had carried a report in the latest issue of Tehelka magazine about 2008 Bangalore blast. In her report, she has raised questions over the police investigation and implication of People's Democratic Party (PDP) President Abdul Nasar Madani in the blast. Karnataka Police, however, accused her of 'intimidating witnesses' and slapped two cases against her under section 506 of IPC.
"The case is not against her as an individual but it is a warning to the entire press community, women and minorities. We strongly condemn the attitude of the police to frame false charges on a reputed journalist in a nationally reputed magazine", the NGOs said in the statement.
"We are aware that if the police can go to that extent, what the status of ordinary members of the minority community could be", they added.
Condemning the local newspapers that reported the incident without verifying the facts, the NGOs said, "We also condemn the tradition of some of the members of the press to repeat the false information of the police, which has very deep communal implications."
"We are shocked at the growing human rights violations in the name of tackling terrorism. Above all, the problems faced by Shahina is also a grave threat to freedom of expression and the incidents also warn us about the fascistic designs of the Sangh Parivar controlled Karnataka Government", the NGOs said.
The NGOs who signed the statement include:
All india Secular Forum, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Keraleeyam Magazine, Thrissur Padabhedam Magazine (Calicut), INSAF, Kerala Tourism Watch, South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education & Monitoring - SICHREM (Bangalore), ViBGYOR Film Collective (Thrissur), Common Concerns (Orissa), Moving Republic (Bangalore), Visual Search (Bangalore), New Socialist Alternative (Bangalore), Pedestrian Pictures, Kabani- The Other Direction, Orissa Concerns.net, Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike Vettiver Collective (Chennai), Campaign for Justice and Peace (Tamil Nadu), Saheli (Delhi), South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net), Centre for Harmony and Peace, Varanasi, Dalit Mukti Morcha Chhattisgarh, Nava Janadhipthya Prasthanam (NDM), Rural Education for Development Society (Tumkur), Booshakthi Vedike (Karnataka), Dalit Panchayat Movement (Tumkur District), Delhi Forum, Programme For Social Action, Asian Media Forum, Infochange Social Media (Pune), National Coalition for Social Watch (Delhi), Context India (Bangalore), Manasi Swasthya Sansthan (Indore), Center for Study of Society and Secularism
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