Journalists in India facing intimidation for exposing RSS


Islamabad, May 22 (KMS): Journalists in India are increasingly facing intimidation by Hindutva forces for running stories critical of rightwing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh backed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

A report released by Kashmir Media Service, today, said journalists in India have to quit jobs after publishing reports that angered supporters of Modi, BJP and RSS. It said journalists are threatened and abused on social media by the Hindutva brigade for exposing Modi regime’s failures. Even global media watchdog ‘Reporters Without Borders’ has said that journalists in India are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, it added.

The report pointed out that journalists are facing an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in Modi’s India. Recently, Hindu nationalist Rajesh Jhaveri threatened to kill a Kashmiri journalist Raqib Hameed Naik for revealing that Hindu right-wing groups had received COVID-19 relief funding in the US. Raqib Hameed Malik in a piece in Al-Jazeera, wrote that 5 organisations with ties to Hindu supremacist and religious groups have received COVID-19 relief funding amounting to $833,000 in the US,” it said.

Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights, a US-based civil liberties advocacy group, expressed concern that the US pandemic relief funds might end up furthering hate campaign against Muslims and other minorities in India. Arvind Rajagopal, professor of media studies at New York University, said RSS has been receiving foreign funding through its affiliates for a long time.

The KMS report pointed out that Hindutva forces led by RSS want to turn India into a Hindu authoritarian state where minorities are relegated to the status of second class citizens.

It maintained that Modi-led BJP regime is using cruel methods to muzzle press in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It added that since 05 August 2019, journalists have reported an intensified crackdown by the authorities in the territory.

In a new advisory, Indian police have clamped new curbs on journalists restricting them from live coverage of cordon and search operations (CASOs) and anti-India protests in the occupied territory. Kashmir Press Club has described the new police advisory as part of the string of measures taken by the Indian authorities to suppress freedom of the press in IIOJK. It said, by issuing fresh advisory regarding reporting in Kashmir, India wants to hide serious human rights violations being committed by its troops during CASOs in the occupied territory.

“For reporting truth, journalists are facing state repression in IIOJK. Hindutva assault on media must serve as a wakeup call for global media organizations,” the report added.

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