Explained: What Are the Stories Done By Journalists Raided By the Delhi Police Today?
New Delhi: A junior member of the Newsclick team, a copy editor who has been with the online portal for the last three years, was surprised when at 6 am, her south Delhi house was raided in police action that continued for three hours. She was one of about 50 people raided by the Delhi Police Special Cell on Tuesday morning.
Charges under various sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and of conspiracy (section 120 B, IPC) and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (153 A) are some allegations mentioned in the search notice against everyone raided on Tuesday.
“While taking away my electronic devices and my passport, they told me 96 places have been raided. I was asked whether I was paid extra for some stories that I wrote on the farmers’ protest and Delhi riots. They also wanted to know why I wrote stories against the country and government. They had no follow up questions, just a performa that they were reading from,” the employee told The Wire.
She says she is a junior person in the office and hasn’t written anything that sets the narrative. “But still they raided me. Raiding the office or the founders is one thing but going to a junior person’s home like this is unexpected,” she added.
So what it is that those raided are writing about that “promotes enmity” within society? Take Abhisar Sharma for instance. His Youtube platform with nearly three million subscribers offers the alternative view point on stories that mainstream media has been ignoring. His last show was on how the Bihar caste census has upset the BJP’s calculations. Another was on the old pension scheme, a story completely ignored by the mainstream media even though the historic Ram Lila Maidan in Old Delhi was choc a bloc with protestors from across the country demanding a restoration of the old pension scheme.
He has also been calling out the ruling party to his 1.8 million followers on X.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta has been in the cross hairs of the Adani group because of his exposés on them. His latest offering on the group was on Sunday.
Writing on business and politics, Guha Thakurta is a regular on the Newsclick platform and has over 122.5k followers on X.
Newsclick, the platform at the centre of it all with over 68,000 followers, has been reporting about current affiars regularly. Founder Prabir Purkayastha’s latest work is on Project Cybersyn, a project of the government of Chile in the 1970s that sought to “use technology …for real time planning and intervention in the economy”.
Other routine stories on the website include criticism of electoral bonds which the opposition calls “legalised bribery” or the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Gujarat report which slams the government for violating mandatory green clearances to ram home development and road widening projects. These are stories that would have been considered routine at any other time.
A story on the Newsclick Hindi website on Monday was how the idea of Gandhi has been reduced to photo opportunities with a broom while the ‘hate brigade’ has a field day. The story is from another journalist who was raided, Bhasha Singh. ‘Khoj Khabar’ is a show she hosts on the website’s Youtube platform, which has a following of nearly four million followers. A staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a show of hers from a week ago highlighted how all government schemes or achievements were all made to be about Modi.
Writer, filmmaker and founder of SAHMAT, Sohail Hashmi’s recent video was an interview in August to writer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyaya for his show, ‘Itihaas ke Panne’ where the two discuss Modi’s “ignorance of history”, the Bhakti Sufi movement and our syncretic culture, while laying the foundation for a temple to Sant Ravidas in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh. A fierce critic of the ruling party and its various wings, Hashmi’s is a powerful voice.
Author and journalist Urmilesh, another voice that is seen to be critical of those in power, was tweeting against embedded journalists ignoring the Bihar Caste Census.
Calling out the government, Urmilesh in an interview said this was a master stroke of the Nitish government in Bihar, something whose ramifications would be felt nationwide.
His show is called ‘Manthan’ on Newsclick, where he takes on the government, its politics, the RSS and highlights stories about the opposition that mainstream media chooses to ignore.
Aunindyo Chakravarty is a regular contributor to Newsclick, be it on politics, the economy or diplomacy. A recent story of his is about ‘Why the right wing hates the Romila Thapar and Irfan Habibs’ where he says Hindutva proponents dislike these historians because they talk about divisions of caste and class. “They are widely hated by supporters of political Hindutva and are often subjects of WhatsApp forwards that emanate from the Right-wing ecosystem,” he says.
A story of his from July is in fact critical of the Indira Gandhi years vis a vis the economy and should have been music to the Modi government’s ears. “Data shows that the poorest 40% of Indians would have been better off today without neoliberal reforms. The middle 40% would have lost nothing if the old dirigiste system had continued. The only people who have gained from the economic reforms, which began in 1982, are the top 20% of Indians, and, even more so, the richest 1%. That is how India turned into a suit-boot economy and a suit-boot society,” he says.
Sanjay Rajaura’s had a talk show on the platform ‘Bharat eke Mauj’, which was discontinued a few months ago. The show roasts anyone and everyone alike. The few links available talk about lynchings happening in different parts of the country, communalism or price rise.
In short, these are stories that neither fit the various sections of the UAPA that deals mainly with terrorism and nor do they promote communal enmity as the police hopes to prove.
Note: This news piece was originally published in thewire.in and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Right.