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On July 17, Jharkhand Police arrested local reporter Rupesh Kumar Singh under stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as well as sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
After arriving at his home before 6 am, the police searched the premises for over 9 hours before finally revealing an arrest warrant and taking the scribe into custody.
While the authorities alleged links to senior Maoists leaders (Singh was arrested under the same first information report under which notorious Maoist leader Prashanth Bose was arrested), his family denied the charges and alleged, instead, that he was being arrested for his people-centric reporting.
Singh has been in jail since.
Singh’s wife, Ipsa Shatakshi, a professor, speaks to The Wire’s Sumedha Pal on Singh’s arrest and the isolated, run-down conditions in which Singh is being kept.
“On July 17, at 1.40 am he was arrested. After 24 hours, on July 18, when he was jailed, he was kept with several inmates suffering from infectious diseases, including those suffering from leprosy and Hepatitis B. On July 19, he was taken into remand for 96 hours. He was jailed again on July 23. We had written on social media that he was being kept in a cell with people suffering from infectious diseases. Cops said this was a stop gap measure and that he would be housed safely. But when he was taken back on July 23 – when I finally spoke to him – I learned he had been kept isolated,” she said.
As the country gears up to celebrate the Modi government’s much-touted ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on India’s 75th Independence Day, Shatakshi sheds some light on how freedom for journalists in the country is shrinking.
This article, first published at 7.41 pm on August 7, 2022, was republished at 9.30 am on August 8, 2022 with additional inputs.