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PUCL Bulletin,

July 1982


A brief diary of attacks on the press


1979
March - The Press Council is set up for the purpose of preserving the freedom of the Press and improving its standard.

1980
September 22 - The office of the Indian Express in Bangalore is gheraoed.

October 3 - The wife of a journalist, Naba Kishore Mohapatra, is raped and killed in Biridi (in Cuttack) because he exposed a well-connected businessman in Orissa.

October 18
- Karnataka Chief Minister Gundu Rao accuses some newspaper proprietors of hatching a plot to topple his Government.
November 23 - Ten journalists are assaulted at Pathuana village in the Bharatpur district where they had gone to cover a bye-election.

1981
January 3 - A one-man committee set up by the Rajasthan working Journalists Union gives its report on the assault on the ten journalists. They were assaulted while trying to probe the charges of bogus voting.

January 12 - The office of the Hindustan Times is attacked in Bhopal, allegedly, by Lok Dal workers.

January 21 - Three journalists are injured by stone throwing miscreants in Ahmedabad.

January 24 - A news agency messenger is assaulted while distributing news packets to newspapers in Calcutta.

February 19 - Jatadhari Ran, a mofussil correspondent of a daily of Bhubaneshwar is arrested, handcuffed and paraded by the Puri's District Police.

March 3 - Ishwar Das Mishra, editor of Janvarta of Varanasi is assaulted.

March 9 - About 150 miscreants attack the offices of three newspapers in Cuttack.

March 19 - Newspapers report the murder of Narinder Singh, the editor of a Jamshedpur weekly.

March 23 - Indian Express photographer, a staff reporter and another journalist are assaulted by police in Hussainiwala.

March 28 - All the three dailies of Chhatarpur come out without any news on their front pages in protest against the harassment of journalists by the district administration.

April 11 - The editor of a Hindi weekly Parchand is whisked from Delhi to Haryana allegedly for his critical writings. On his release, he complains of brutal treatment druing detention.

June 12 - Uttam Chand Sharma, the editor of the Muzaffarnagar Bulletin (Hindi) says that his office staff was beaten up and furniture destroyed by 15 armed men.

July 23 - The office of Kinakaran in Coimbatore is attacked, allegedly, by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
- Gur Kirat Singh, a crime reporter of the National Herald is assaulted in Faridabad (in Haryana) outside a gambling den where he had gone for investigative reporting.

September 9 - Lala Jagat Narain, the founder editor of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers is murdered on the outskirts of Ludhiana.

December 4 - police registered a case against K. Narendra, editor of Pratap for causing "disaffection among different communities" by a write up in the newspaper. The case was filed under Section 153 (A) I.P.C.

December 5 - Senior Superintendent of Police of Aligarh district allegedly threatened to kill an Indian Express reporter. The SSP's out burst was linked with Aligarh reporting in Indian Express.
- Parliament discussed reported threats to the editor of Naya Zamana, for writing against the Khalistan movement. Dal Khalsa had reportedly threatened to murder. J. S. Anand, the editor, in a letter to him, if he continued to oppose the Khalistan movement.

December 17 - Youth Congress (I) supporters stormed the Press Trust of India office in New Delhi. They were protesting against non-coverage of their party's activities by PTI.

December 20 - Prabhar, a popular Marathi daily, was reportedly facing closure due to shortage of newsprint.

1982
January 5 - The Press Council of India found as justified the complaint of Manush Patrika a daily published in Tripura, that the state government had illegally stopped advertisements to it. The council felt that there was a direct linkage between articles written by the daily and the stoppage of advertisements.

January 6 - Arcot Veeraswami, MLC, Managing Editor of the Tamil daily Ethiroli, T. P. Radhakrishnan and Kilji Singhamuthu, director and printer-cum-publisher respectively of the newspaper and N. Srinivasan, brother of Veeraswami, were arrested and latter released on bail. The arrests were made under section 292 (A) following a police investigation on a complaint of H. V. Mandi, the Tamilnadu Health Minister, in connection with what the Minister described as a scurrilous news item that appeared in the Ethiroli issue of October 15, 1981.

January 22 - T . Anjaih, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister threatened to see the journalists arrested. It was alleged by a Lok Dal MLA in Uttar Pradesh Assembly that a secret directive had been issued to the police to deal ruthlessly with journalists daring to write about the omissions and commissions of the Government and the ruling party.

February 6 - A delhi sub-judge restrained India Today a fortnightly magazine, from publishing any article on Charanjit Singh, Congress (I) M. P. and soft drinks magnate.

February 13 - The Prime Minster accused the Indian press of functioning as the opposition. "It is not functioning as a free press". 'The Press is the opposition in India. What is called the national press leads the opposition in India. It is not just reporting. Their reporting is absolutely baseless", she alleged.

February 16 - R. K. Gupta, a BJP M.L.A in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly drew the attention of the House to alleged rude behaviour of the Sitapur-Hardoi police with a journalist who has been exposing police activities. He said that on

February 13
, Khala Bazar police entered the house of Ashok Tripathi and misbehaved with the members of his family in his absence.

March 9 - The news editor of Indian Express received anonymous telephonic calls threatening to murder him in three days if he continued to publish news items pertaining to the cement fraud involving an Andrha Pradesh Minister.

March 13 - the Uttar Preadesh Assembly was informed about the arrest of two Etah journalists. B. K. Gupta, an MLA, alleged that the district administration in Etah was intimidating and coercing independent journalists. The two journalists had exposed the corruption prevalent in the Etah municipal board.
-Correspondents in Jammu and Kashmir including representatives of the major national and foreign newsppaers and news agencies continued their boycott of Assembly proceedings. They were protesting against the speaker's orders to watch and ward officials not to permit journalists entry into the Assembly lobby.

April 25 - The Patna bureau of UNI, a national English news agency, was radided by a group of armed gangsters brandishing knives and other weapons. The attackers threatened the staff on duty with dire consequences, ransacked the office and decamped with a typewriter.
The intruders also warned the staff that their bureau manager would be killed.

April 30 - A chandigarh based newsman, Prabhjot Singh, became the target of mob fury while discharging his professional duties. Singh, a staff correspondent of Tribune, was hit all over the body and kicked around by a mob of nearly 50 persons near the Mahakali Temple where a tail of an animal was recovered earlier.

May 4 - The Uttar Pradesh Government instructed all the police officers in the state not to give information to press reporters under any circumstances. Violations of the circular will result in disciplinary action.

May 16 - A group of 20 young men said to be Naxalites raided the offices of two Siliguri dailies Uttarbanga Sambad and Himal Ohulli and set fire to the rotary and offset machines. The raid was reportedly against a news item about the current Assembly elections in the State.

May 19 - A journalist was assaulted and his eyes gouged out by a group of employees of the cooperative department in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. The journalist was attacked when he was going to file a F.I.R.
-Three newsmen were taken away an dallegeldy confined illegally in the house of a U. P. Minister of State, Gulab Singh in Dehradun.

May 27 - The Deputy Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Arif Mohammad Khan, warned newspapers that if they did comply with the Government order of specifying the number of copies printed of the previous issue in every copy of newspapers and periodicals, the Government may have to consider the eligibility of such newspapers for allocation of newsprint.

June 2 - Singamuthu, editor and printer of the Tamil eveninger Ethiroli was arrested under section 292 A (A) and (D) of I. P. C. in connection with the publication of a news item concerning the foreign trip of a State Minister. The minister found the reporting "highly scurrilous and indecent".

June 29 - The Bihar Government armed itself with powers to deal with recognised newspapers, news agencies and accredited newsmen against publication of "false or motivated" reports. The Bihar accreditation Rules, 1922, provides for deaccreditation of newsmen in the event of "misuse of facilities accorded through accreditation or violation of the Official Secrets Act.

 

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