IFJ Demands Full Details for Arrest of Journalist in India's Maharashtra State

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on police in

India's Maharashtra state to provide all details of the circumstances

surrounding the arrest of journalist Sudhir Dhawle, in the state's eastern

district of Wardha on January 2.

According to IFJ sources in Maharashtra, Dhawle had visited the

neighbouring district of Gondia to attend a convention on Adivasi and Dalit

literature (i.e., the literature of India's indigenous communities and those

traditionally disadvantaged under the country's caste system) on January 1. He

was on his way back home in the state capital of Mumbai, when he was arrested

at the Wardha railway station.

Dhawle has been booked under provisions of Indian law dealing with

sedition and waging war against the State. According to police accounts, the

basis for his arrest is the interrogation of a purported leader of the banned

Communist Party of India (Maoist), taken into custody a few days prior.

Journalists and civil society groups in Mumbai and elsewhere in

Maharashtra have reacted sharply to Dhawle's arrest, seeing it as part of a

pattern of victimisation of human rights defenders in parts of the state

affected by a long-running Maoist insurgency.

Dhawle is editor of a magazine of dissenting opinion titled Vidrohi,

and a freelance contributor to numerous other publications. He was active in

civil rights movements in the state and elsewhere.

"We call for clarity on the circumstances of Dhawle's arrest since there

has been little evidence produced to implicate him in any wrongdoing or

proscribed political activity," said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"Information reportedly gathered through the interrogation of a person in

custody, and the journalist's possession of radical literature, cannot be a

credible basis for arresting him or for booking him under charges of such

extreme severity."

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


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