Ahmedabad: Journalists and civil rights activists have reacted angrily to the police charging three journalists of The Times of India with sedition.
The resident editor of daily’s Ahmedabad edition, a reporter and photojournalist were charged on Sunday after the newspaper carried a series of articles which alleged that Police Commissioner O P Mathur had links with the underworld.
"The police are not the law or the nation. This (articles against Mathur) cannot be called sedition under any circumstances," said Rathin Das, the Hindustan Times’ correspondent in Ahmedabad.
Journalists and civil rights activists on Monday protested outside Mathur’s office and alleged that the charges were an attempt to silence the Press. The police responded by booking the protesters for unlawful assembly.
"The society is alive because of the voice of dissent. It is vibrant because of that," said social activist Hanif Lakdawala.
"It has become a tradition in Gujarat for the government and the police to attack the freedom of the press. All citizens of Gujarat are with the journalists," said Dwarikanath Rath, secretary of Socialist Unity Centre of India.
Civil rights activists are circulating SMSes to make people aware about the police “harassment” of the Press. "There is a conspiracy against the freedom of the Press. There has to be a nationwide struggle to ensure that the Gujarat government is taught a lesson," said senior journalist Digant Oza.
CNN-IBN tried contacting the TOI journalists who've been charged with sedition, but they were unreachable. Sources say they are seeking legal opinion to fight the case.