CBI raids and unlawful arrests of journalists and lawyers forewarn darker times

Is Modi government trying to intimidate human rights activists?

I am Gauri NewsDesk

 The NDA- 2 government under the leadership of PM Modi isn’t wasting any time in crushing any real or perceived opposition. It started with the life term imprisonment of Sanjiv Bhatt, who has accused Mr. Modi for his role in Gujarat riots. This was followed by bizarre arrests and assaults on journalists who were critical of Yogi government in UP.

CBI raids on ex additional solicitor General, Indira Jaising ́s home and office yesterday should be also seen in the same light. She has been a vocal critic of Narendra Modi and his policies since he came to power in 2014. 

Jaising and the Lawyer’s Collective have previously been involved in a number of legal cases against the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership. Among the high profile cases one was of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. Sanjiv Bhatt had alleged that Narendra Modi had a role in the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was chief minister of the state. Teesta´s  organisation fights for justice for the victims of communal violence during the 2002 Gujarat riots. She has also represented Teesta Setalvad where she was accused of money embezzlement. 

Indira had represented a Greenpeace activist, Priya Pillai in 2015, when she was debarred from flying out of India by the government. Pillai was fighting for the rights of adivasis in Madhya Pradesh.

Indira has been critical of the procedure for designating senior advocates in the Supreme Court which she also challenged in court in 2016. Last year, she raised concerns in the appointment of judges in the Supreme court in the assignment of Judge Loya death case. 

Since the unlawful kidnapping and arrest of a journalist Prashant Kanojia in UP, five more journalists and rights activists have been arrested. These cases didn’t make headlines as Kanojia case because they were from small towns. 

  1. 9th June 2019, journalist and social activist, in Jharkhand Rupesh Kumar along with lawyer and activist Mithilesh Kumar Singh.
  1. 8th july 2019, Kripashankar and his wife Prabha were picked up from a hotel and arrested. Kripa Shakar is the editor of a UP newspaper, Viruddh and a member of All india forum against hindutva fascism. 
  2. 9th July 2019, Manish and his wife Amita Shrivastav, social worker and school teachers.

All these cases follow the same pattern of abduction followed by arrests.These five arrests were made for alleged links with naxal groups. We have been seeing since last six months,  Modi government has been arresting human rights activists under the farce of naxalite charges. What is the crime of these activists? They were speaking against the anti people policies of the government. 

From targeting small town journalists, RTI activists to now much lauded senior lawyers and advocate generals, Modi government has shown that it doesnt care about the stature of its opponents. It is out there to crush all opposition and dissent. The question is to us- How long are we going to remain silent?

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