Journalist arrested in Chhattisgarh’s Maosit-hit Bastar
Police arrested on Saturday a reporter with a Hindi daily in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-dominated Dantewada district on charges of entering an examination hall without authorisation.
Sources said Dipak Jaiswal was arrested in Gidam, the fourth journalist to be picked up by police in the conflict-ridden Bastar region in the past six months.
The arrest of journalist Prabhat Singh last week triggered waves of protests and condemnation with the National Human Rights Commission expressing distress and sending a notice to the state government.
Singh was arrested on charges of texting “obscene comments” on a WhatsApp group against a senior police officer posted in Bastar.
Two other Bastar- based journalists, Somaru Nag and Santosh Yadav, have earlier been arrested on charges of having links with Maoists.
Critics say the ruling BJP government is using these charges to clamp down on free speech and independent political reporting from the mineral-rich region that has seen several local and Maoist uprisings.
The incident follows the alleged police intimidation of journalist Malini Subramaniam and the hounding of a group of female lawyers out of the region.
But the BJP has refused to back down, saying journalists in Chhattisgarh were safer than anywhere else.