New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI): Calling it a "fresh attack on the media", the Opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on Tuesday hit out at Delhi Police over the raids at different premises linked to online portal NewsClick.
While "strongly condemning" the government's "fresh attack on the media", the bloc said in a statement, "We steadfastly stand with the media and for the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and expression".
It added in its statement, "The government has also tried to convert the media into a mouthpiece for its partisan and ideological interests by facilitating the takeover of media organisations by crony capitalists.""Both the government and its ideologically aligned organisations have resorted to reprisals against individual journalists who spoke truth to power. Furthermore, the government has also spearheaded regressive policies like the Information Technology Rules 2021 that constrict the media from reporting objectively. In doing so, the government is not only hiding its sins of omission and commission from the people of India. It is also compromising India's global standing as a mature democracy," the INDIA bloc alleged.
"The government's coercive actions are invariably directed against only those media organisations andjournalists that speak truth to power. Ironically, the government is paralysed when it comes to taking action against those journalists inciting hatred and divisiveness in the nation. In the national interest, it would behave the Government to focus on genuine issues of concern to the nation and the people, and stop attacking the media to distract attention from its failures," the statement claimedMeanwhile, speaking to the media in Bhubaneshwar, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Anurag Thakur said the investigative agencies are doing their work.
"The investigating agencies are doing their job. If the agency has taken any action, then it must have been based on evidence or a specific complaint," the minister said.
Delhi police on Tuesday raided different premises linked to NewsClick in a case registered under UAPA on August 17.
The investigation, which is still underway, was launched on the basis of information from central agencies. Sources also said that an FIR was filed at the New Delhi Range of Delhi Police special cell against NewsClick.
As part of the investigation, editor of NewsClick Prabir Purkayastha and writers Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Urmilesh were brought to the special cell offices in the national capital today.
Sources said that the first meeting before launching the crackdown was held by the top officials of the special cell on Monday (October 2). The meeting was attended by over 200 police personnel at 2 am at the special cell office in Lodhi colony.
Apart from Senior Officials, the mobile handsets of Junior officials were kept at the station, to hide any leaked information.
The special team carried out raids at more than 30 locations, sources said, adding that suspects were marked in the A, B, and C categories.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, teams of the Delhi Police special cellMumbai police conducted searches at the residence of activist Teesta Setalvad.
The raids are being conducted on a case registered on August 17 under UAPA and other sections of IPC, which include UAPA, 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120 B of IPC (criminal conspiracy).
The raid team on Tuesday morning also reached at Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury's residence to question his staffer Sri Narayan's son Sunmit Kumar. The raid team seized the mobile, laptop, and hard drive of Sunmit Kumar, who works at NewsClick, sources said.
Earlier on August 10 a report in the New York Times had alleged that NewsClick was part of a global network that receives funding from American billionaire Neville Roy Singham.
Singham is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes, and is at the centre of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda. Neville Roy Singham is said to have close ties to the Chinese government media machine. (ANI)