New Delhi: Award-winning freelance journalist Neha Dixit revealed on Wednesday that there was an attempt to break into her house on January 25, possibly by people who have been physically stalking and threatening her for several months.
Dixit has long been the target of threats and harassment, both online and offline, due to the nature of her investigations. Her reportage has been crucial in revealing extrajudicial killings, illegal detention using draconian laws and trafficking of Assamese girls by a right-wing group to ‘inculcate’ them with nationalist ideology, among others. She has contributed to The Wire.
In a tweet, Dixit said on Wednesday that she is being stalked since September 2020. The stalker identifies her “exact physical location” through phone calls, threatening her with “rape, acid attack and death”, she said. The stalker also makes it clear that she is being targeted for performing her duties as a journalist, she says.
— Neha Dixit (@nehadixit123) January 27, 2021
Since she has received calls from various phone numbers and she has identified three-four distinct voices, Dixit suggests that a group of people might be involved in stalking and threatening her. The stalkers also seem to be aware of the whereabouts of her partner and have threatened to kill them both, she said.
“In continuation with the threats, day before, on Jan 25th, at 9 pm, someone tried to break into my house and ran away when I shouted and opened the door.
I have filed a police complaint at the local police station today and the police is investigating,” Dixit said.
Dixit said she is making the incident public since she believes more attention needs to be paid to physical threats and attacks.
“Looking at the recent precedents where so many journalists, artists, filmmakers, activists, academics have faced violence, some killed, for doing their job, it is imperative that we start paying attention to violence beyond the online world.” she said.
Dixit has revealed in the past that her exposé on extrajudicial killings in Uttar Pradesh resulted in high-ranking police officials threatening her family’s safety. She also revealed that she faces up to 300 abusive messages a day.
In a tweet, DIGIPUB News India Foundation – an association that aims to represent, amplify and evolve best practices for digital media – urged the Delhi police to take the complaint seriously and act promptly.
“Our solidarity with Neha Dixit. We hope the law enforcement will provide adequate protection to the journalist who is being attacked for doing her job,” DIGIPUB added in another tweet.
We urge @DelhiPolice to take this complaint seriously and act on it promptly. The attempt to break into Neha’s house and the constant threat calls are a serious security nightmare. https://t.co/t0DQwcHlcs
— DIGIPUB News India Foundation (@DigipubIndia) January 27, 2021
Dixit’s complete statement has been reproduced below.
Since September 2020, I am being physically stalked. The stalker identifies my exact physical location on phone calls and threatens me with rape, acid attack and death, clearly bringing my profession as a journalist into the conversation. Several numbers are used to make calls through three-four different voices and over two dozen phone numbers. The stalker also indicates whereabouts of my partner, Nakul, who is a documentary filmmaker, and threatens to kill us both.
In continuation with the threats, day before, on Jan 25th, at 9 pm, someone tried to break into my house and ran away when I shouted and opened the door.
I have filed a police complaint at the local police station today and the police is investigating.
I feel the need to put this on record because while there is lot of conversation about online trolling, and rightfully so, it is time that we make a sincere effort to up the momentum on offline, physical threats and attacks too. Looking at the recent precedents where so many journalists, artists, filmmakers, activists, academics have faced violence, some killed, for doing their job, it is imperative that we start paying attention to violence beyond the online world.
I also want to say that I don’t want this to become about me. An integral part of my training as a reporter is that ‘the reporter is not the story.’ I only hope that by me putting this on record, there will be a push to demand more action and conviction in cases of physical threats against media professionals globally.