Digvijay Singh, Ajeet Ojha, Manoj Gupta
HRDA issued an urgent appeal over the abduction, harassment and illegal arrest of Mr Ajeet Ojha, Mr Digvijay Singh and Mr Manoj Gupta who were illegally arrested on fabricated charges.
Mr Digvijay Singh (55) is a journalist from Ballia, associated with Amar Ujala Newspaper. He is also the circle president (Ballia) of the National Journalists Association of India. Mr. Ajeet Kumar Ojha (40) is a journalist from Ballia, associated with Amar Ujala newspaper. He is also a teacher in a college. Mr. Manoj Gupta (32) is a journalist, associated with Rashtriya Sahara newspaper.
All three were arrested on March 30, 2022, for reporting a leak of an Uttar Pradesh Board Examination paper. The police flouted several arrest procedures and registered two FIRs against them at the Kotwali police station in Ballia. They were illegally detained and questioned without any warrant or court order.
On April 2, 2022, a delegation of advocates even went to the District Magistrate's office to protest the police action highlighting that information about the leak was viral before the exam in 24 districts, including Ballia. Despite this, the District Magistrate Ballia showed extreme indifference and negligence.
We believe that the charges against them are baseless and fabricated. We are concerned that the Balliya police and administration arrested only those journalists who exposed the paper leak.
We urged the Hon’ble Commission to direct the Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh to initiate an independent inquiry into the fabricated charges, illegal arrest, and harassment of the three journalists. Further, we asked the Hon’ble commission to direct the Senior Superintendent of Police of Ballia to submit to the NHRC the CCTV footage, vehicle log records, wireless records, duty records and other necessary information Nagra guest house, Nagra police station and Rasra police station, Ballia for the dates of March 30 and 31, 2022.