On July 17, the Jharkhand Police arrested independent journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh from his home in connection with a first information report (FIR) from 2021. He was charged under numerous sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the draconian anti-terror legislation, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
While the police arrested him in connection with FIR 67/21, which was the FIR on the basis of which top Maoist leader Prashant Bose (alias Kishan Da) and his aides were arrested, Singh’s family alleged that he was being targeted for his work as a journalist which, time and again, had raised questions of the state’s Hemant Soren-led government.
When the police arrived at Singh’s residence to arrest him at 5:30 am on the morning of July 17, his family members suspect that they were accompanied by personnel of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as well.
What’s more, in 2021, three phone numbers associated with Sharma had featured on the list of potential surveillance targets of Israeli spyware Pegasus. Singh had even moved the Supreme Court at that time demanding directions to the Union government to put forth any documents and evidence regarding the use of Pegasus against him.
As an independent journalist, Singh wrote many stories in the public interest. As his wife told The Wire after his arrest, he had recently reported on how industrial pollution in Jharkhand’s Giridih was affecting the lives of the locals.
“He tweeted a video of a local girl who has developed a tumour and is unable even to move. The video had gone viral. Some doctors and (actor) Sonu Sood’s team reacted to the tweet and offered help to the girl,” Singh’s wife said, asking if the government was afraid of his work.
The Wire’s Sumedha Pal details Singh’s arrest and the circumstances surrounding it in the video below.