The Wire's Reports Which Are Nominated for the 2022 Redink Awards

Reports on surveillance, the environment, government projects, gender injustice and communalism by Siddharth Varadarajan, Dheeraj Mishra, Sumedha Pal, Jahnavi Sen, Sukanya Shantha and Yaqut Ali are part of the shortlist.

Six of The Wire‘s reports are nominated yet for the 2022 Redink Awards, given by the Mumbai Press Club. The nominated stories cover key human rights issues – from the politics of environment to the prison lives of those who are most ignored. 

Here are the stories that have been shortlisted. 

Watch | Hasdeo Aranya Protests: 10 Long Years of Resistance Explained

Sumedha Pal is nominated in the Environment (TV) category for her video report on an indefatigable and decade-long movement to save forest land and prevent the opening of coal mines.

Her report highlighted how members of tribal communities in Chhattisgarh had covered more than 300 km on foot to save the forests of Hasdeo in October 2021.

Pal also explained the history of the movement and why members of tribal communities are struggling to save their land, water and forests.

Watch | Man in ‘Kill Muslims‘ Video Holds Post in BJP Yuva Morcha Says Father, Wants Him to Surrender

Yaqut Ali is nominated in the Crime (TV) category for his video report on Uttam Updhayay, one of the men who was seen shouting violent anti-Muslim slogans on videos from an August 2021 rally at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

The Delhi police had said it had not been able to identify anyone in the video, but Ali spotted Upadhyay and managed to track down his family. His father told The Wire that Upadhyay held a post in the BJP Yuva Morcha.

At the time when Ali made the video, Updhayay had not returned home since the rally. His father said he wanted him to surrender to the police.

‘Buzz of a Mosquito… But With the Sound of Grief’: The Lives of India’s Women Prisoners

Jahnavi Sen is nominated in the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (Print) category for her sensitive report on how ‘when Indian women go to prison, they mostly go to a prison inside a prison.’

Sen’s report noted the injustice of the fact that out of the 1,350 prisons in India, just 31 are reserved for women, and only 15 states and union territories have separate women’s jails. Everywhere else, female prisoners are housed in smaller enclosures within men’s prisons – “a prison within a prison, so to speak.”

Women prisoners who Sen spoke to told her that they had “no control over how [their] body would be treated.”

Overcrowding, lack of hygiene and sanitation, the stipulation that those held under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act must be segregated, lack of attention to their health and the complete silence around their rights and need for rehabilitation define prison life for most women in India, the report says.

This article was part of the series ‘Barred–The Prisons Project’, produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Misgendering, Sexual Violence, Harassment: What it Is to Be a Transgender Person in an Indian Prison

Sukanya Shantha is also nominated in the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (Print) category for her deep dive into how judicial progress on the rights of transgender persons has translated very little into attention towards those in detention.

The report found that many trans women were forced into male prisons where they faced physical and sexual violence. In the testimonies recorded, trans prisoners said that their complaints are routinely overlooked by prison authorities, as were their medical needs.

What makes any redressal of these issues difficult is the lack of data on transgender prisoners, the report highlights. Prison statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) are inadequate — they only record data along a narrow male-female binary. Transgender people are not counted separately.

This article too was part of the series ‘Barred–The Prisons Project’, produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Ignoring Damning SC Panel Report, Modi Govt Kickstarts Work on Ken-Betwa Link Project

Dheeraj Mishra is nominated in the Environment (Print) category for the first of his six-part series on the Ken-Betwa Link Project.

Mishra’s 2021 report came as the Union government began preparations to implement the Ken-Betwa Link Project which aims to direct water to the drought-prone Bundelkhand region, which occupies parts of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, has often reeled from severe water crises.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already presided over the signing of a tripartite memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the project on March 22, 2021.

However, Mishra highlighted, the Supreme Court has yet to clear the project for implementation based on an expert report submitted by its Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on August 30, 2019, which examined the potential impact of the project on the people of Bundelkhand and on the environment and wildlife of the region among other issues.

Pegasus Project: How Phones of Journalists, Ministers, Activists May Have Been Used to Spy On Them

Siddharth Varadarajan is nominated in the Politics (Print) category for the introductory article to the Pegasus Project – an international collaborative reporting project that established the frightening extent to which governments around the world, including India, could be using surveillance tools in ways that have nothing to do with national security.

The Wire, working with 16 international media partners, found clear signs of targeting by Pegasus spyware in 37 phones, of which 10 are Indian.

NSO Group, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus worldwide, says its clients, are confined to “vetted governments”, believed to number 36. Though it refuses to identify its customers, this claim rules out the possibility that any private entity in India or abroad is responsible for the infections which The Wire and its partners have confirmed.

Note: This article was first published on December 13, 2022 and republished on December 16, 2022 with Siddharth Varadarajan’s nomination.