Condemn Raids on Activists and Journalists

Condemn the NIA raid on the Democratic Rights, Cultural activists, Advocates, Women Activists and others working towards uplifting the marginalised sections of society. Condemn the Police Raids on Journalists and Media Houses in Delhi

On 2nd October, while the official programs commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle against the British rulers, the anti-people National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out simultaneous raids at more than sixty different places in Andhra and Telangana states. This follows a similar raid in September in Uttar Pradesh in May 2023 in Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.  Andhra and Telangana have witnessed state-sponsored raids and harassment of democratic rights activists, advocates and others upholding the rights of the people since November 2020, when the AP police had registered cases against 65 leading democratic rights activists based on the alleged confession of an arrested Maoist sympathiser. However, it must also be kept in mind that since then, the NIA-led investigations have not produced any incriminatory evidence against any of the accused persons. On the other hand, the Special Court under the UAPA Act, which granted bail to the accused, passed scathing comments on the nature of the allegations and evidence gathered.

Notwithstanding these failures, NIA has carried out simultaneous raids in districts spreading all over the Telugu states, including Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Anantapur, Vishakhapatnam, Kadapa, Srikakulam, Prakasam, Tadepalligudem, Palnadu and Narasaraopet in Andhra and Hyderabad and Warangal in Telangana. House raids include respected public figures like leading physician and the President of the Guntur district Civil Liberties Committee, Raja Rao, in Ponnuru, noted advocate, CDRO coordinator Kranthi Chaitanya in Tirupati, advocate Suresh in Hyderabad and other respected public intellectuals and other activists. These people are all well-known for their struggle and advocacy for the welfare of the marginalised sections of society and work in open, legal spaces. Trying to connect them with banned Maoist organisations is nothing but a travesty of truth and an attempt to cover up the government’s failure to meet the people’s expectations of raising the quality of their lives.

On 3rd October, a series of raids on houses and offices of journalists, commentators and activists connected with Newsclick and other media professionals were carried out in more than 30 locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. It is learnt that the police are investigating a case under the draconian terror sections 13,16, 17, 18 and 22C of the UAPA and Sec. 153 (A) (hate speech) and 120 (B) (conspiracy) of IPC against media professionals.

Amongst the houses and offices which the Delhi Police raided were the Editor of Newsclick, Prabir Purkayastha, the former Managing Editor of NDTV, Aunindyo Chakravorty, senior journalists like Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Urmilesh, Abhisar Sharma, Bhasha Singh, Subodh Verma, Anuradha Raman, Aditi Nigam, Pranjal, Sumedha Pal and Mukund Jha. Besides, the police searched and seized the devices of satirist and stand-up comedian Sanjay Rajoura, historian Sohail Hashmi, author Gita Hariharan, Raghunandan of Delhi Science Forum and Kiran Chandra of Free Software Movement of India. The Delhi police also raided the office and residence of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand of Sabrang India in Mumbai. Stooping to a new low, the police raided the house of Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the CPI (M) party, and confiscated a device of a guest staying with him! As per the latest report, Newsclick Founder-Editor, Prabir Purakayastha and Amit Chakravarty, have been arrested.

CDRO notes with grave concern that as the all-round failure of the central government to contain inflation, curb rising unemployment, and uphold the federal and democratic aspirations of the country is becoming clear to one and all, the government is making a desperate attempt to choke any voice of dissent. On one side, we see the failure of the central government to prevent riots in Manipur or to book the rioters there. On the other hand, the same government uses NIA to heckle advocates in Tamil Nadu who are discharging their professional duties of providing legal support to the PFI cadres or the anti-displacement activists in Jharkhand and Odisha who are trying to prevent the land grab by the industries in active collaboration with the states, or the student activists and a PUCL central leader in UP for their roles in exposing the misgovernance of the BJP rule. The present raids in AP and Telangana and the journalists and media personnel in Delhi and other places bear identical signatures.

The fascist RSS and their supported government are using the godi media and IT cells to create an alternate reality where the government is projected as a no-nonsense and tough government that can take on any power in the world. However, all these attempts are not fructifying as people understand, through their everyday lives, that the government has failed miserably in solving their day-to-day problems. In this historical juncture, independent media like the Newsclick portal has stood out for its impeccable news reporting, which the present dispensation has found difficult to swallow. Despite cases against Newsclick and Prabir Purkayastha by the ED, IT and CBI, the editor and journalists have not stepped back and have continued fulfilling their professional responsibilities fearlessly.

In the same way, the democrats and other activists have been raising these unpleasant realities in front of the public. CDRO, therefore, considers these raids and interrogations to be the branding of open, democratic, pro-people activities as Naxalites and the “extremists, anti-national, anti-state”. CDRO strongly believes that these brandings are done by the government and the NIA not only to stifle the voices of active human rights and democracy defenders but also to manufacture public support for the government’s illegal activities. The government’s attitude was laid bare in the speech given by the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, at the passing out parade of the 73rd batch of probationers at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVP NPA) in Hyderabad. In his speech, Doval clearly explained what the government intends to do when he termed the civil society as the “new frontiers of war” or the “fourth-generation warfare”.  Thus, through speech and action, the fascist regime has made it amply clear that they will not tolerate any criticism, any resistance to their vision of creating a Hindu Rashtra, against their mission of opening up the country to corporate-sponsored loot of our natural resources and the people.

CDRO demands stopping this witch hunt and a halt to the investigation. CDRO feels that it is the responsibility of all democracy-loving citizens to come forward and raise their voices against these acts, as otherwise, the authoritarian and fascistic regime will take away all rights of the people.

CDRO demands:

  1. An immediate stopping of the harassment of the activists and the release of one person arrested by the NIA in AP and Telangana
  2. An immediate release of Prabir Purakayastha and Amit Chakravarty
  3. That the police and the NIA must not prevent advocates and journalists from doing their duties of bringing out the truth in the courtroom and to the citizens of the country
  4. That anti-federal and anti-people NIA must be immediately disbanded.
  5. The MHA must stop criminalising activism aimed at realising the directive principles of state policy as anti-national.


Asish Gupta                                

Tapas Chakraborty                  

 Kranthi Chaitanya

Coordinators, CDRO

Constituent Organisations of CDRO:

Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab); Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Haryana), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association(West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Committee(West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights; Peoples’Committee for Human Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum(Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Haryana), Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janakeeya Manushyaavakasha Prasthanam, Kerala.


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