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Uphold Freedom Of Expression, Condemn Communal Fascist Designs

06 December, 2010

We the following organizations express our strong concern on the charges framed by Karnataka police against journalist Shahina KK for her investigative report on Bangalore bomb blast case. Her recent article which showed that witnesses in the Bangalore blast case were fragile, false and forced has led her to be implicated under charges of IPC 506 which can lead to seven years of imprisonment.

The accusation of Karnataka police is that she ' intimidated the key witnesses' in the Bangalore bomb blast case during the course of her article. The accusations of the police were also carried by the local news papers as “suspicious” visit by a “group of Muslims” to the place. The newspapers said that police were not sure about the identity of the woman, though she had showed a TEHELKA identity card!

Describing the incident in the article Shahina has pointed out that on her way to meet the witnesses, she and her colleagues were tailed by the police and received calls from the circle inspector, who enquired if Shahina was a terrorist!

The case is not against her as an individual but it is a warning to the entire press community, women and minorities. We strongly condemn the attitude of the police to frame false charges on a reputed journalist in a nationally reputed magazine. We are aware that if the police can go to that extent, what the status of ordinary members of the minority community could be. We also condemn the tradition of some of the members of the press to repeat the false information of the police, which has very deep communal implications. We are shocked at the growing human rights violations in the name of tackling terrorism. Above all, the problems faced by Shahina is also a grave threat to freedom of expression and the incidents also warn us about the fascistic designs of the Sangh Parivar controlled Karnataka Government.

We strongly urge the Karnataka Government to drop the charges against Shahina and create a harmonious environment for both freedom of expression as well as for the minorities.

We appeal to all secular and democratic forces to express support for all similar victims of false charges faced by those who are regularly branded and charged due to the expression of the misuse of powers of the State machinery.

Endorsed by

All india Secular Forum
People's Union for Civil Liberties
Keraleeyam Magazine, Thrissur
Padabhedam Magazine, Calicut
Kerala Tourism Watch
South Indian Cell for Human Rights Education & Monitoring (SICHREM), Bangalore
ViBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur
Common Concerns, Orissa
Moving Republic, Bangalore
Visual Search, Bangalore
New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore
Pedestrian Pictures
Kabani- The Other Direction
Orissa Concerns.net
Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike
Vettiver Collective, Chennai
Campaign for Justice and Peace-Tamil Nadu

South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net)
Centre for Harmony and Peace, Varanasi
Dalit Mukti Morcha Chhattisgarh
Nava Janadhipthya Prasthanam (NDM)
Rural Education for Development Society, Tumkur
Booshakthi Vedike, Karnataka
Dalit Panchayat Movement, Tumkur District
Delhi Forum
Programme For Social Action
Asian Media Forum
Infochange Social Media, Pune
National Coailation for Social Watch, Delhi
Context India, Bangalore
Manasi Swasthya Sansthan,Indore
Saheli, Delhi

Shahina's report & Reporters comments