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Fabricated charges against journalist Umesh Pandey by the Bihar Police as an act of political reprisal

Image Credit :- The Wire

Umesh Pandey

HRD and Journalist

Buxer, Bihar

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on June 23, 2021, regarding fabricated charges against Buxer based journalist Mr. Umesh Pandey for exposing corruption related to the provision to ambulance. Mr. Pandey is a journalist with the ETV Bharat news portal. 

Mr. Pandey covered the news regarding the inauguration of the same ambulances multiple times at different locations with the presence of Buxer MP and the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Ashwini Choubey. When Mr. Pandey asked a BJP leader, Mr. Parshuram Chaturvedi, about the inauguration of the same ambulance with the same chassis number, he denied Mr. Pandey’s claim. Mr. Chaturvedi reached Mr. Pandey’s house on May 20, 2021, with an armed guard, his driver, and two more aids and threatened Mr. Pandey’s father and warned him to stop his son from reporting about the ambulances issue. 

When Mr. Pandey published the news regarding the corruption in the provision of ambulances on May 23, 2021. Mr. Chaturvedi filed a complaint against Mr. Pandey based on which the Buxar Sadar police station registered an FIR under sections 500, 506 290,420, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The case against Mr. Pandey is an act of political reprisal for publishing a news report against a central minister involved in inaugurating the same ambulances multiple times in different locations. It clearly violates the right to freedom of speech, expression guaranteed under Article 19 A of the Indian Constitution, and also the Human Rights Council resolution 15/21 adopted in October 2010 which claims that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, free of restrictions.

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