India: Journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh arrested

Police arrested Jharkhand-based independent journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh on July 17, accusing him of supporting Maoist groups. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), condemn the arrest and call for the journalist’s immediate release.

Journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh was arrested at his home in Jharkhand, India on July 17. Credit: Twitter.

According to Singh’s wife, Ipsa Shatakshi, at 5:25 am on July 17 Saraikela Kharsawan district police conducted a 9-hour raid at their home, seizing a bed sheet, a nine-page notebook, a tax invoice for a motorcycle, two mobile phones, one hard-disk, the retail invoice of a car and two laptops, among other personal items.

Immediately following the raid, the police arrested Singh and charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code.

“Police searched for nine hours but didn’t disclose that they had an arrest warrant, too. Only five minutes before the arrest, the police showed us the warrant,” Shatakshi said.

Singhwas arrested in connection with a 2021 case for his alleged links with leaders of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), including Prashant Bose. Police claim the journalist was involved in organising funds for the Maoist members.

Singh has frequently covered the rights of tribal communities, known as Adivasis, and other marginalised communities for the news publications Janchowk and Media Vigil.

He was associated with the student wing of the CPI (Leninist) during his time at college and was arrested in June 2019 for alleged links with Maoists. The journalist’s wife said that the journalist is being targeted for his investigative work surrounding human rights violations.

The IJU said: IJU expresses serious concern at the arrest of Rupesh Kumar Singh, an independent Journalist of Jharkhand, under UAPA act. IJU raised its voice against wanton arrests of journalists under UAPA after the Supreme Court's order to not use the sedition law 124(a) of the IPC. Such action of the government will throttle the free press and help establish an authoritarian regime in the country.”

IFJ said: “Journalists must be able to report independently and critically without fear of detainment, harassment, or intimidation. The IFJ condemns the arrest of journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh and urges the Indian authorities to immediately drop all charges against him.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram