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Police and administrative officials in Bijapur and Sukma districts curbing free movement of journalists

Kamal Shukla and Sanjay Thakur

HRD and Journalist

Chhattisgarh

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on June 25, 2021, regarding the harassment and restriction on the free movement of journalists Mr. Kamal Shukla and Mr. Sanjay Thakur by police and administrative officials in the Bijapur and Sukma districts. Both are senior journalists in the region HRDs.

Mr. Kamal Shukla and Mr. Prakash Thakur were traveling towards Silger on May 30, 2021, to cover the ongoing peaceful protest by Adivasis. They were forcibly stopped at 7 out of 14 security camps located along the 60 km stretch between Bijapur and Silger. They were given the reason that the places had been declared as Covid-19 containment zones, though security officials did not show any order regarding it.

On June 4, 2021, police stopped journalist Mr. Sanjay Thakur at the Basaguda Police Station and restricted him from reporting the protests, saying he could not proceed further as the area was a containment zone. Police failed to show any order regarding the same and he was allowed for further proceed after one hour. 

The harassment and restriction on travel of journalists in the name of pandemic laws are to stop the independent reporting to the protest by Adivasis. This amounts to a clear violation of the freedom of the press which is clearly stated in the UN declaration of the Human rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

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