Journalist and WHRD
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on March 16, 2022, regarding the FIR against journalist Ms. Rana Ayyub by Karnataka police for her comments in an interview in the BBC World News where she allegedly described those heckling hijab-wearing students in Karnataka as “Hindu terrorists”.
On February 10, 2022, Ms. Ayyub in an interview to the BBC World News was quoted as , "these girls have been wearing the hijab for a very long time, it is not for the first time. So why suddenly has this group of young Hindu vigilantes, Hindu terrorists for that matter, who are hoisting saffron flags in an education complex in Karnataka”. On March 04, 2022, the Vidyagiri police station in Dharwad registered a complaint against Ms. Ayyub.
We believe that the FIR against Ms. Ayyub is fabricated and follows a pattern of harassment against the WHRD for her support of minority rights in India. The right to freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in the Indian Constitution and protection of journalists, like Ms. Ayyub, and ending impunity for attacks against them, is an essential part to safeguard the freedom of expression. States are under an obligation to prevent, protect against, and prosecute attacks against human rights defenders.