‘Attempts to silence media’ as one more journalist arrested by Chhattisgarh police for WhatsApp message


Chhattisgarh’s BJP government government has been criticised for its attempt to ‘silence journalists’ after the state police arrested one more reporter for allegedly posting an ‘obscene message’ on WhatsApp.

Chhattisgarh police arrested Prabhat Singh after he allegedly posted the following message on journalist’s freedom.

His message, as reported by Indian Express, read, “Patrakaar suraksha kanoon se keval unhen parhez hai jo already mama ki ***** mein baithe hai (Only those who are already sitting in mama’s ***** have a problem with the journalists’ protection law). “Mama” is a term used commonly by journalists in the region to refer to a top police officer in the Bastar range.”

On Tuesday, Singh was produced in a local court, where he accused the police of brutalities ‘in custody.’

He was later remanded in judicial custody until 31 March.

Vishnu Singh, Singh’s brother said, “We were told later that he was kept in the Parpa police station through the night, and had been arrested on charges relating to the IT Act. When we met him today (Tuesday), he told us he had been assaulted at the station.”

Police for its part said that the case against Singh was registered under section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67(A) of the IT Act as well as section 292 (publication of obscene or scurrilous matter) of the Indian Penal Code.

Singh’s arrest is the latest in the series of police action against media persons under the state’s BJP government.

In the recent past, police arrested local journalists Santosh Yadav and Somaru Nag, both currently in jail for allegedly helping Naxals.

Not too long ago, a contributor for the website Scroll.in too was allegedly forced to leave Bastar under police pressure.

The State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said, “I raised the matter in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday and have asked the Home Minister to give a response. They are attempting to silence journalists.”