NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Thursday demanded “immediate” release of a journalist who was recently arrested by Uttarakhand Police for allegedly promoting enmity between castes.
The editors’ body said police arrested Kishore Ram, working for news portal ‘Janjwar, from Pithoragadh on February 24 under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly promoting enmity between castes.
“The Editors Guild of India is deeply disturbed by the arrest of Kishore Ram, a journalist working for the news portal Janjwar, by the Uttarakhand Police,” it said in a statement.
“Ram has been arrested under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, on charges of promoting enmity between castes. This is deeply concerning as Ram has been reporting on issues pertaining to marginalised classes and lower castes for a while,” it added.
In the present instance, the Guild noted, that an FIR was filed against him for his reporting on two separate incidents–one pertaining to death of a Dalit youth on February 13 and the other about rape of two “underage Dalit women” on February 18.
In both the cases, Ram had interviewed those who knew the victims, including the family members, and uploaded the videos on the website, the Guild said.
“The police in its complaint have accused Ram of asking caste of the people from the family members and speaking about the killing of people belonging to SC (scheduled caste) by upper caste people,” the EGI noted.
This is “extremely distressing” that mere reporting on what may very well be caste based crimes are being cited as grounds for arrest, it said.
“The Editors Guild demands immediate release of Kishore Ram,” it said.
The Guild also urged the state administration and the law enforcement agencies to not use penal laws as “tools of intimidation against journalists’ right to report on societal and caste based issues”.