Press Statement: Uphold Freedom of Expression. Condemn Communal Fascist Designs
See the press statement by 33 organisations in support of Tehelka Reporter Shahina KK, who faces charges from the Karnataka Police under IPC 506 for intimidating witnesses. Her expose in Tehelka showed how the police case against Abdul Nasar Madani, head of the People’s Democratic Front (PDP), accused in 2008 Bengaluru blasts, was fragile and based on non-existent and false testimonies.
Uphold Freedom of Expression. Condemn Communal Fascist Designs
We the following organizations express our strong concern on the charges framed by Karnataka police against journalist Shahina KK for her investigative report on Bangalore bomb blast case. Her recent article which showed that witnesses in the Bangalore blast case were fragile, false and forced has led her to be implicated under charges of IPC 506 which can lead to seven years of imprisonment.
The accusation of Karnataka police is that she ' intimidated the key witnesses' in the Bangalore bomb blast case during the course of her article. The accusations of the police were also carried by the local news papers as “suspicious” visit by a “group of Muslims” to the place. The newspapers said that police were not sure about the identity of the woman, though she had showed a TEHELKA identity card!
Describing the incident in the article Shahina has pointed out that on her way to meet the witnesses, she and her colleagues were tailed by the police and received calls from the circle inspector, who enquired if Shahina was a terrorist!
The case is not against her as an individual but it is a warning to the entire press community, women and minorities. We strongly condemn the attitude of the police to frame false charges on a reputed journalist in a nationally reputed magazine. We are aware that if the police can go to that extent, what the status of ordinary members of the minority community could be. We also condemn the tradition of some of the members of the press to repeat the false information of the police, which has very deep communal implications. We are shocked at the growing human rights violations in the name of tackling terrorism. Above all, the problems faced by Shahina is also a grave threat to freedom of expression and the incidents also warn us about the fascistic designs of the Sangh Parivar controlled Karnataka Government.
We strongly urge the Karnataka Government to drop the charges against Shahina and create a harmonious environment for both freedom of expression as well as for the minorities.
We appeal to all secular and democratic forces to express support for all similar victims of false charges faced by those who are regularly branded and charged due to the expression of the misuse of powers of the State machinery.
- All india Secular Forum
- People's Union for Civil Liberties
- Keraleeyam Magazine, Thrissur
- Padabhedam Magazine, Calicut
- Kerala Tourism Watch
- South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education & Monitoring (SICHREM), Bangalore
- ViBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur
- Common Concerns, Orissa
- Moving Republic, Bangalore
- Visual Search, Bangalore
- New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore
- Pedestrian Pictures
- Kabani- The Other Direction
- Orissa Concerns.net
- Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike
- Vettiver Collective, Chennai
- Campaign for Justice and Peace-Tamil Nadu
- Saheli, Delhi
- South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net)
- Centre for Harmony and Peace, Varanasi
- Dalit Mukti Morcha Chhattisgarh
- Nava Janadhipthya Prasthanam (NDM)
- Rural Education for Development Society, Tumkur
- Booshakthi Vedike, Karnataka
- Dalit Panchayat Movement, Tumkur District
- Delhi Forum
- Programme For Social Action
- Asian Media Forum
- Infochange Social Media, Pune
- National Coailation for Social Watch, Delhi
- Context India, Bangalore
- Manasi Swasthya Sansthan,Indore
- Center for Study of Society and Secularism
For Further Information
Shahina's report & Reporters comments
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association's statement
When Two Muslims Meet: The Media(ted) case of Madani and Shahina : The Fishpond
Moving Republic, BangaloreContact 080 25463780