Reality of ‘crime free’ UP: 12 journalists were killed, 48 attacked, 66 booked under various cases in Yogi Raj

A report by Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) says that 138 cases of assault and attacks against journalists were recorded between 2017 and 2021 in Uttar Pradesh under CM Yogi Adityanath

Reality of ‘crime free’ UP: 12 journalists were killed, 48 attacked, 66 booked under various cases in Yogi Raj

NH Political Bureau

Puncturing tall claims made by the Yogi government regarding the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, a report released by Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) has revealed that as many as 12 journalists were killed, 48 were physically attacked and 66 were booked under various cases during the last five years of Yogi Raj.

Releasing year-wise data of murder, attack, detention etc since 2017 when Yogi Adityanath assumed office as UP CM, CAAJ claimed that while 7 journalists were killed in 2020 alone – the highest in five years – 29 were attacked physically in 2021.

As per the report, 138 cases of assault and attacks were recorded between 2017 and 2021.

What is a cause of alarm is that according to the CAAJ, 75 per cent of the cases slapped on journalists were recorded during the pandemic.

Abhishek Shrivastav, convenor, CAAJ who released the report highlighted that Modi’s constituency Varanasi, UP’s capital Lucknow and industrial cities Noida, Ghaziabad topped in their list.

“BJP is mainly banking on twin polls planks – law and order and development – in this election. But the contradiction is very palpable. Cities which are showcased as a model of development by the ruling party are the worst as far as law and order is concerned…Imagine, if the journalists, who represent the fourth estate of democracy and are considered ‘powerful’, are not safe in this regime, then who is safe?” he said.

As per the CAAJ report, at least 55 journalists and editors in Uttar Pradesh were booked or arrested for reporting on the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state.

The report highlighted that during this period, not only did local or regional correspondents face action, but even prominent journalists were targeted.

The report cited Varanasi district administration’s action against editor Supriya Sharma under various sections of the IPC and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

In her report, which had stoked controversy, Sharma wrote how the condition of locals in Domari, one of the villages adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana in 2018, had worsened during the lockdown.

The Varanasi administration, as per the report, got Mala Devi – a resident of Domari village in Varanasi’s Ramnagar police station area – to lodge a complaint against Sharma that the latter’s report that the situation in the village had deteriorated in the absence of emergency food support during the lockdown was false.

In its 73-page report, the CAAJ also mentioned how reporters of major news organizations like the BBC and The Hindu had to face litigation initiated by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.

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