Release Santosh-Somaru! Enact protection law for journalists, Repeal CSPSA: Statement of Solidarity

Statement of Solidarity for journalists’ movement in Chhattisgarh

We extend our unconditional support to the journalists’ movement proposed on December 21, 2015 in Jagdalpur district of Chhattisgarh demanding the enactment of a protection law for scribes and immediate release of two reporters Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag, who were arrested in September and July this year in fabricated cases and charged under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA). We have seen a surge in the attack on right to freedom of expression in recent times where journalists have been intimidated, bullied and even killed in different parts of the country. This has raised questions over legitimacy of democratically elected governments and is threatening the basic principles of democracy.

Chhattisgarh is notably different in this respect as journalists here are forced to take sides either with the state or with the Maoist insurgents. In the distant areas of Dantewada, survival of a journalist depends on the meager concessions given by either police or Maoists. If in case he dares to sympathize with the marginalized tribals sandwiched between police and insurgents and eventually finds it difficult to suppress his voice of conscience, then he is destined to death or is sent behind bars. This deplorable condition is outlined in the case of Nemichandra Jain and Sai Reddy, who were first sent to jail on charges of being Maoist informer and when released, killed by Maoists who termed them as police agents. Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag are victims of the same vicious circle who are now facing severe torture inside Jagdalpur jail since last few months but unfortunately, no collective voice has been raised in their support at national level until date.

Although, journalists in Bastar have successfully agitated in the past. They have equally condemned the state and police atrocities as well as opposed intimidation of free speech by Maoists. When journalist Nemichandra Jain was killed by Maoists, there was a huge mobilization among fraternity and a collective decision was taken not to publish any news item on insurgents. This collective action forced a written apology from Maoist spokesperson Gudsa Usendi. When Sai Reddy was murdered, journalists decided to enter the Maoist stronghold and dissent to send a direct message that terror on free speech will not be tolerated. Journalists there have taken the same position against police and state machinery. These past events and agitations only prove that journalists of Bastar are collectively fighting to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression and speech.

A healthy and functioning democracy requires that journalists should feel free to work in an objective manner without any fear. The case of Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag is a characteristic example of state terror and police’s high-handedness hence it is imperative to build a struggle for freedom of expression and speech around this. Although lately, but recent agitation on this issue at national level should be welcomed in word and spirit.

We demand immediate and unconditional release of Santosh and Somaru. We demand repealing of draconian CSPSA and enactment of a law to protect journalists. These are the same demands to be raised on December 21 by the movement. Apart, we demand a white paper from the state government on the attacks and harassment of scribes during last five years in Chhattisgarh, to initiate a public discussion on this issue and to facilitate the formation of a comprehensive law for protection of journalists.

We also demand that the officials involved in conspiracy against jailed journalists must be identified  and brought to book. A case must be registered against officials and the jailed journalists must be compensated for the loss. Last but not the least, we appeal to all the editors in Chhattisgarh to stand up against scuttling of free speech and leave the editorial space empty in their publications on December 21, 2015 in support of the larger movement.

 Signatories

Arjun Prasad Singh (Peoples’ Democratic Front Of India)
Anand Swaroop Verma (Samkaleen Teesari Dunia)
Pankaj Bisht (Samayantar)
Asad Zaidi (Writer and Publisher)
Uday Prakash (Writer)
Apoorvanand (Delhi University)
Jawed Naqwi (Senior Journalist)
Bharat Bhushan (Senior Journalist)
Ujjwal Bhattacharya (Senior Journalist, Delhi/Germany)
Dilip C. Mandal (Senior Journalist)
Anil Chamadia (Media Studies Group)
Subhash Gatade (New Socialist Initiative)
Ish Mishra (Delhi University)
Shabnam Hashmi (Social activist, Delhi)
Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA, CPI-ML Liberation)
Manisha Sethi (Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association)
Seema Mustafa (Senior Journalist)
Shoma Sen
Richa Pandey (Pragatisheel Mahila Ekta Kendra)
SANHATI (Delhi)
Ameeq Jamei (All India Tanzeem-e-Insaf)
Dr. A.K. Arun (Yuva Samwad and Yuva Bharat)
Deep Singh Shekhawat (Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti)
Mahtab Alam (PUCL, Delhi)
Shahnawaz Alam (Rihai Manch)
Rajeev Yadav (Insaf Abhiyan, U.P.)
Journalists’ Union For Civil Society
Bhupen Singh (Journalist Solidarity Forum)
Yashwant Singh (Bhadas4Media.com)
Rajkishor (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
Prashant Tandon (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
Nasiruddeen Haidar Khan (Independent Journalist)
Amalendu Upadhyaya (Hastakshep.com)
Panini Anand (Pratirodh.com)
Dilip Khan (Journalist, Delhi)
Prashant Rahi (Social Activist)
Avnish Rai (Jan Media/Mass Media)
Prakash K. Ray (Bargad.org)
Peeush Pant (Lok Samwad)
Pankaj Molekhi (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
Geeta Seshu (Journalist, Delhi)
Jitendra Chahar (Sangharsh Samwad)
Ranjeet Verma (Kavita: 16 May Ke Baad)
Ashok Kumar Pandey (Aaghaaz Sanskritik Manch)
Reyazul Haq (Hashiya)
Debadityo Sinha (Vindhya Bachao Abhiyan, Mirzapur)
Abhishek Srivastava (Junputh.com)
Varun Shailesh (Journalist, Delhi)
Saroj Kumar (Journalist, Delhi)
Arvind K. Pandey (Indowaves)
Mary Mathai
Mukul Saral
Pankaj Srivastava
Sunil kumar, mazdoor ekta kendra.
Subhash, krantikari yuva sangathan(KYS)
Nityanand Gayen

(Please send your endorsements to guru.abhishek@gmail.com latest by 19 th December)

 

 

7 thoughts on “Release Santosh-Somaru! Enact protection law for journalists, Repeal CSPSA: Statement of Solidarity

  1. “A healthy and functioning democracy requires that journalists should feel free to work in an objective manner without any fear.”….

    ….That’s why I demand immediate release of these two unfortunate journalists!!

  2. K SHESHU BABU

    Intimidation of journalists and murder has been carried out by the ruling classes and not Maoists barring one or two incidents . Whether it is Rasool in AP (Telenana) or the MP incident relating to Vyapam, the ruling parties supported by the police and military have committed the gruesome acts of murder. Hence, the ire should be directed at the ruling classes/castes mostly and a campaign should be launched for freedom of expression of all including journalists.
    However, journalists have the task of reporting real incidents without favour or fear. With the corporate houses funding media, realistic journalism has become rare and most journalists are forced to report the official version and thereby subverting real incidents. A nimber of encounters have been reported where not a single police personnel has been injured. Is this not questionable journalism? Many of Maoist-supported measures for the welfare of adivasis has been under-reported or not reported at all. The struggles for land reforms, protesting mining, voicing against illegal cutting down of forests, etc., need more attention. Impartial journalism is becoming rare and biased reporting is on the increase.
    While suporting the genuine demands of the journalists, one would feel that a more comprehensive protection law and the basic rights charter is needed. Release of the journalists should be supported by all human rights activists and maoists. They also should demand free and fair reporting of incidents relating to maoists, caste repressions, corruption at higher places, unfair politics, police and army repression, communal violence and the scale of calamities, etc.

  3. K SHESHU BABU

    While expressing solidarity, the release of journalists should also be accompanied with written official assurance of government that it would repeal all acts of police repression and hold police officers accountable for murder or arrests of journalists, maoists, adivasis, muslims, ST/SC/OBCs, activists and other human rights members.

  4. Request the moderator to pls update the final list of signatories as under:

    Arjun Prasad Singh (Peoples’ Democratic Front Of India)
    Anand Swaroop Verma (Samkaleen Teesari Dunia)
    Pankaj Bisht (Samayantar)
    Asad Zaidi (Writer and Publisher)
    Uday Prakash (Writer)
    Apoorvanand (Delhi University)
    Jawed Naqwi (Senior Journalist)
    Bharat Bhushan (Senior Journalist)
    Ujjwal Bhattacharya (Senior Journalist, Delhi/Germany)
    Dilip C. Mandal (Senior Journalist)
    Anil Chamadia (Media Studies Group)
    Subhash Gatade (New Socialist Initiative)
    Ish Mishra (Delhi University)
    Shabnam Hashmi (Social activist, Delhi)
    Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA, CPI-ML Liberation)
    Manisha Sethi (Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association)
    Seema Mustafa (Senior Journalist)
    Shoma Sen
    Richa Pandey (Pragatisheel Mahila Ekta Kendra)
    SANHATI (Delhi)
    Ameeq Jamei (All India Tanzeem-e-Insaf)
    Dr. A.K. Arun (Yuva Samwad and Yuva Bharat)
    Deep Singh Shekhawat (Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti)
    Mahtab Alam (PUCL, Delhi)
    Shahnawaz Alam (Rihai Manch)
    Rajeev Yadav (Insaf Abhiyan, U.P.)
    Journalists’ Union For Civil Society
    Bhupen Singh (Journalist Solidarity Forum)
    Yashwant Singh (Bhadas4Media.com)
    Rajkishor (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
    Prashant Tandon (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
    Nasiruddeen Haidar Khan (Independent Journalist)
    Amalendu Upadhyaya (Hastakshep.com)
    Panini Anand (Pratirodh.com)
    Dilip Khan (Journalist, Delhi)
    Prashant Rahi (Social Activist)
    Avnish Rai (Jan Media/Mass Media)
    Prakash K. Ray (Bargad.org)
    Peeush Pant (Lok Samwad)
    Pankaj Molekhi (Senior Journalist, Delhi)
    Geeta Seshu (Journalist, Delhi)
    Jitendra Chahar (Sangharsh Samwad)
    Ranjeet Verma (Kavita: 16 May Ke Baad)
    Ashok Kumar Pandey (Aaghaaz Sanskritik Manch)
    Reyazul Haq (Hashiya)
    Debadityo Sinha (Vindhya Bachao Abhiyan, Mirzapur)
    Abhishek Srivastava (Junputh.com)
    Varun Shailesh (Journalist, Delhi)
    Saroj Kumar (Journalist, Delhi)
    Arvind K. Pandey (Indowaves)
    Mary Mathai
    Mukul Saral
    Pankaj Srivastava
    Sunil kumar, mazdoor ekta kendra.
    Subhash, krantikari yuva sangathan(KYS)
    Nityanand Gayen

  5. Pingback: Solidarity with journalists in Chhattisgarh | SANSAD

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