Dissent

Editors Guild Condemns ABVP Threats to The Wire‘s
Founding Editor

12628388_945979525487243_1572144722424597240_o (1)New Delhi: In a statement issued on Saturday, the Editors Guild of India strongly condemned “the blatant acts of intimidation and threats to Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Wire, by student members of the ABVP in Allahabad University that forced the police to intervene to escort him to safety.”

Varadarajan had been invited to deliver a public lecture on ‘Loktantra, media aur abhivyakti ki svatantrata’ (Democracy, the Media and Freedom of Expression)” by the president of the Allahabad University Students’ Union and the event was scheduled to be held at the university’s Senate Hall on January 20, 2016.

The Editors Guild statement notes that after students belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party – threatened violence, the university’s vice-chancellor withdrew permission for the programme and got the district administration to prohibit it from being held anywhere else on campus. As a result, “Varadarajan was forced to deliver the lecture at a hall near the campus.”

After the lecture, when The Wire’s founding editor went to meet the V-C in his office along with the students’ union president, Richa Singh, the ABVP – which declared that Varadarajan was “anti-national” and would not be allowed to set foot inside the university campus – surrounded the exit.

The university security warned Varadarajan that they could not guarantee his safety, and it was only after the police arrived that he was escorted to safety.

“For a senior journalist to be threatened in such a manner at a leading university is deplorable. It is a brazen attack on freedom of expression, and the Editors Guild of India finds this mob mentality to silence those with divergent views unacceptable”, the Editors Guild statement said.

 

  • sivaraman ias retd

    it is a shame a crying shame
    why has this country been vandalised in this manner
    it is more a shame because the BJP is not even bothered that in the next elections they will reap the harvest that the AVBP and other loud mouthed people of theirs are sowing

  • Jayanthi Srinivasan

    Its good that he has got a taste of his own medicine.Those who do not agree wih him also have freedom of speech.It is a two way street.

    • Sumanta Banerjee

      Sorry to disagree ! The ABVP is not indulging in `freedom of speech,’ but exerting their `freedom of hooliganism.’ The time has come to resist these hoodlums of the Sangh Parivar – physically if necessary.

      • ProgressForIndia

        I disagree – the hooligans were the ones shouting “Bharat ki Barbadi” and “jang rahegi, jang rahegi” – that’s itself incitement to violence. They are the ones who staged the provocative incident – had that incident not occurred, then responses it provoked would not have occurred.

        When our soldiers are dying at the hands of separatists, I think it’s quite clear that any support of separatist killers are hate speech. The rally posters declaring India’s judiciary as having carried out “judicial killing” amounts to inflammatory speech and contempt of court.

  • Sri Krishna Bhagawan

    “Ever heard of figure of speech?” its same on both sides of the coin…

    some examples

    Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Charlie Hebo, Jyllands-Posten ,
    Donald Trump ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/114003 ),
    Subramanian Swamy ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16081751 ),
    Germaine Greer, Deputy PM of Israel. ,( http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/13/banning-shouting-down-speakers-universities-risk), and of course

    Narandra Modi ( http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/13/modinotwelcome-heres-why-brits-are-not-happy-about-the-indian-pm-being-in-the-uk-5497995/ )

  • Guru dutt Shikaripur

    The ABVP-RSS-Sangh Parivar combine has become the greatest internal threat to democracy in India. The Hindutva forces are fully backed by India Inc. As the unemployment crisis deepens, the Hindutva Fascists will subvert the present Constitution & promulgate their own “Vedic” constitution of Hindu Rashtra. The need of the hour is for all the democratic forces to up a united struggle.

  • sri1948

    ABVP may have its grievance against Varadajan but can’t threaten him. we never get to know what really happened,Editors Guild could have contacted Richa to know the other version.
    Today media thrives on hatred,falsehood,calumny,proxy politics etc.Behold, there ARE elements in the media who support extremists,terrorists & anti nationals.From angels[once upon] to not angel to devils.In fact the social unrest can be blamed on the media.People should reconcile to the reality that the warring factions own the journos. Some more,some less all at a cost.
    Shri Varadarajan is intelligent.He is cettainly biased.He has his agenda, not sacred. These days many journos use pen with poisoned tips.They are second level politicians.Why should we expect Varadarajan to be an exception?
    The Editors guild has done its duty of defending its member.Futile to expect the Guild to cleanse the system.

  • ProgressForIndia

    I think that if Wire can exercise moderation on its site, then likewise the speech of JNU can be similarly moderated. It’s hypocrisy for site moderators to claim the right of moderation for themselves, but saying that other places cannot do it.