Mumbai, Sep 28 (IANS) Senior Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders on Thursday expressed deep concern over threats issued to senior journalists on the social media by netizens who disapprove of their views.
In separate letters to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan and NCP senior leader Supriya Sule-Pawar drew attention to the cases of veteran journalists Rajdeep Sardesai (India Today TV) and Ravish Kumar (NDTV) who have been facing the ire of netizens.
“This is an extremely dangerous trend, directly attacking the Fourth Pillar of our democracy, particularly in view of assassinations of rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, M.N. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh in the recent past,” Chavan said.
These murders are a shameful chapter in the history of independent India for all of us as duly elected representatives of our respective voters, he told Rajnath Singh.
“In our democracy, where freedom of speech is enshrined in our Constitution, Sardesai and Kumar are only doing their jobs in a democratic manner. Silencing their voice by such threats is unacceptable and must be dealt with, going beyond party lines,” Sule-Pawar urged the Union Minister.
They pointed out that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led cental government has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the fundamental tenets of democracy and this would be the appropriate moment for Rajnath Singh to “walk the talk before yet another ignominy is heaped upon us”.
Chavan and Sule-Pawar appealed to Rajnath Singh to initiate immediate action to ensure that no physical harm is cause to Sardesai and Kumar and act against those issuing such threats.
Swift action on the part of the Union Home Minister would serve to set a deterrent example to all those who do or intend to indulge in violent means and destroy the fabric of the secular society in the country, the leaders said.
The appeals by the two prominent opposition MPs assume significance in the light of reports of at least four more journalists from the National Capital Region of Delhi receiving such threats.
The journalists have complained to the police in New Delhi and Noida about threats and warnings of dire consequences to those critical of the Narendra Modi government, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The threats have been issued on social media platforms during the past one week.
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