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
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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