AIKS Welcomes the Release of NewsClick Editor Prabir Purkayastha

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision ordering the release of NewsClick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha, terming his arrest and remand by the Delhi Police as illegal. After his arrest 7 months ago in October 2023, Prabir was not provided with a copy of the remand application before passing the remand order. The apex court expressed surprise at the Delhi Police’s ‘hot haste’ in producing Prabir before a magistrate without even informing his lawyer. The AIKS and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha had immediately denounced the arrest as “illegal”. The Supreme Court decision vindicates our position.

It is noteworthy that NewsClick had played a commendable and courageous role in taking the farmers’ side to the public during the historic farmers’ movement, at a time when the BJP and the Prime Minister was leaving no stone unturned spread canards and branding the protest as funded by ‘Khalistanis’. Angered by the pro-people reporting, the Modi government and Amit Shah’s Home Ministry accused Prabir Purkayastha of taking Chinese funding to whip up protests and promote Chinese propaganda. The attack against NewsClick that began in 2021 concluded with the New York Time’s predatory article last year, which the government used as a justification to charge Prabir under the draconian UAPA.

The AIKS and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha led a country-wide movement to protest the unjust arrest of Prabir immediately and mobilise the masses against the authoritarian move. Massive rallies, public meetings and poster campaigns were undertaken to spread awareness about the attack on independent media. Delhi Police’s false FIR was burnt at different centres to decry the unjust nature of the arrest.

Today’s order by the Supreme Court is undoubtedly a shot-in-the-arm for democracy in the country and a push-back against authoritarianism espoused by the BJP-RSS. In the past few days, the Supreme Court has ordered the release of civil society activist Gautam Navlakha in the Elgar-Parishad case and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Such instances increase public confidence in the Indian judiciary.

We stand with Prabir as he continues his legal battle against 7,400 chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police against NewsClick. We firmly believe that he will prevail against the forces that wish to suppress independent media.

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