A report from The Free Speech Hub of the Hoot

 

Highlights

 

  • Deaths : eight deaths in 2013

 

The number of journalists killed has risen in the last three years. From three in 2011 and five in 2012, there have been eight deaths of journalists in 2013, of whom six are from Uttar Pradesh and two from Chhattisgarh. No arrests have been made in connection with any of their deaths. Maoist groups are suspected to have killed both journalists from Chhattisgarh. With the exception of one, the rest were stringers.

 

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  • Censorship : 94 instances in 2013

 

The number of instances of censorship this year rose from 74 in 2012 to 94 in 2013. As in the previous year, the single biggest category of instances was Internet related. (31). In 2012 the figure was 41. The second largest category was film related as at least 19 commercial films saw problems over content, titles, songs and dialogues.

 

 

 

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  • Attacks : 19 instances in 2013

 

The brutal acid attack on a journalist in Parbhani, Maharashtra, and the attempt to burn alive another journalist in Kolkata, West Bengal are part of the 19 instances of attacks on journalists and other citizens in 2013. Of these, four attacks came from political parties while in seven instances, the media was targeted while covering protests.

 

 

The increasing surveillance of citizens, by both state and private bodies, aided by technology as well as official policy, is a matter of grave concern. These forebodings were flagged in the very first Free Speech Report of 2010. Now, ‘official’ mechanisms are being put in place to conduct surveillance with little or no scrutiny – be it the Central Monitoring System, the threat to privacy inherent in the Aadhar card scheme, the interception of electronic communication by officially appointed agencies or the social media labs and cyber cells of police forces.

An Overview

 

Categories 2013 2012
Deaths of journalists

 

08 05
Attacks

Threats

Harassment

Arrests/detentions

Total

 

19

04

02

 

25

39
Censorship :

Print

Electronic media

Internet

Feature films

Documentary films

Theatre

Art

Music

 

Literature and Educational curriculum

 

Total

 

14

 

08

10 04
31 41
19 14
02
02  
03
06

 

07

 

94

07

 

 

 

74

Privacy & Surveillance

 

12 05
Defamation 07 02
Hate speech 10 02
Policy, judiciary, regulation 07 03
Sedition

Contempt

Legislative Privileges

02

 

02

 

01

 

 

 

The  deaths of journalists on duty – eight in 2013, from the five last year and the three the year before– is a chilling reminder of the slow erosion of free speech in the world’s largest democracy. Added to this is the increasing surveillance of citizens, by both state and private bodies, aided by technology that citizens are scarcely aware of.

 

The list of deaths of journalists could have been worse – with the brutal acid attack on a journalist in Parbhani, Maharashtra, and the attempt to burn alive another journalist in Kolkata, West Bengal. These are part of the 19 instances of attacks on journalists and other citizens tracked by the Hoot’s Free Speech Hub for 2013.

 

Even as journalists face increasing attack, censorship is on the rise – with 94 instances in all. The rising graph of deaths, attacks and threats to journalists as well as a range of citizens from writers, artists, theatre performers, political activists or students who speak up on social media is an indication of intolerance to alternative ideas and opinions but it also exemplifies the impunity which the attackers enjoy, often with the complicity of the very authorities entrusted with the task of upholding law and order.

 

Through the year, surveillance – flagged by the first report of Free Speech Hub in 2010 – was the major issue for free speech throughout the world, triggered by the revelations of the US government’s NSA. India was fifth on the list of countries under surveillance but the Indian government’s tepid response was only made worse by the defence of Union External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid that the US government’s programme was ‘not actually snooping’ but computer analysis of call patterns and emails!

 

The minister’s remarks are at variance with the government, which initially termed the privacy violations as ‘unacceptable’. Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed that India was the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence which used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data. US intelligence services spied on 38 embassies and diplomatic missions of its allies that included India.

 

There was little or no transparency in the quiet rolling out of  ‘official’ mechanisms being put in place to conduct surveillance – be it the Central Monitoring System, the threat to privacy inherent in the Aadhar card scheme, the interception of electronic communication by officially appointed agencies or the social media labs and cyber cells of police forces.

 

Deaths and attacks

 

While the total death of journalists is eight this year, two are from Chhattisgarh – Nemichand Jain and Sai Reddy, killed by suspected Maoists. All the rest are from Uttar Pradesh – Rakesh Sharma, Shashank Shukla, Lekhram Bharti and Zakiullah while Rajesh Verma and Israr died during the Muzaffarnagar riots that engulfed the state in September.

 

Maoists had targeted both Jain and Reddy and a Maoist sub-committee owned up responsibility for Jain’s death. Reddy, a regular contributor to a respected local newspaper, Deshbandhu, had earned the ire of local police, the Salva Judum as well as the Maoists for his writings exposing corruption. Police suspect Maoist involvement in the killing of Reddy, though he was arrested under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act in 2008 for allegedly being close to the Maoists! There is no official statement from the Maoists owning responsibility for the attack.

 

There were 19 attacks on journalists this year while there were four other instances of threats to the media, to speakers at public meetings or newspaper offices and two instances of harassment of women for online content.

 

The deaths illustrate the very precarious working conditions of the journalists. With the exception of Rakesh Sharma who worked with newspaper Aaj, all the rest were stringers and had little or no formal organizational support. The killings, as well as the increasing attacks on journalists, have had a chilling effect on news-gathering, as journalists are wary of venturing into dangerous territory and stick to safe topics instead.

 

In two instances, supporters of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu attacked journalists who were covering his arrest on sexual molestation charges. In three separate instances, internecine clashes broke out between political party supporters of the BJP, Congress and the Trinamool Congress but they quickly turned their ire at mediapersons who covered the clashes.

 

The most vicious of these attacks on journalists was by the Trinamool Congress, who tried to burn a journalist alive, leaving another unconscious.

 

“They confined me in the room and started beating me. Then one of them poured petrol on me. They were about to burn me alive when some locals stormed inside and after a scuffle, managed to protect me,” said Barun Sengupta, journalist with television channel 24 Ghanta.

 

While impunity ruled a majority of the instances of deaths and attacks, swift police action was effective in nabbing the prime accused in this case. Police managed to trace the cell phone of Shibu Yadav, who attempted to escape to neighbouring Bihar and arrested him, along with eight accused.

 

Censorship

 

If the increasingly vicious attacks aren’t enough of a wake up call, take a look at the number of instances of censorship – 94 in all, ranging from curbs on print, broadcast and Internet media; protests and cases against film titles, songs and dialogues and bans on film screenings; disruptions and vandalism in documentary film screenings, theatre performances and art shows, cases lodged against authors and take down of content in school text-books.

 

Curbs on print and broadcast media ranged from police cases against editors, gags on the media in Kashmir in the wake of the hanging of Afzal Guru, ban on media coverage of the Delhi gangrape trial or suspension of television programmes like ‘Comedy Central’ or ‘Bigg Boss’ for violation of content codes. But other cases of censorship had far-reaching implications for media freedom, notably two decisions of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to demand that a Manipur newspaper editor disclose the source of a photograph on an insurgency group and another, to gag media coverage of the Bhatkal case.

 

Censorship of online content, 31 instances in all through the year, included arrests of citizens for posting comments on various social networking sites. Dalit writer Kanwal Bharti was arrested for his Facebook comments on IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal while Bangladeshi write-in-exile Taslima Nasreen faced in FIR for her tweet on the support sought by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal from a cleric who issued a fatwa against her!

 

Students continued to fall afoul of their educational institutions and, in at least six instances, students were either suspended or expelled from their institutions for their Facebook posts. And here’s a good illustration of institutional discomfort towards GenNext: the Delhi government guidelines banned teacher-student bonding over social media as part of its internet safety protocol!

 

But other areas of censorship only indicate that was a free-for-all all year. In case after case, vigilante groups managed to get their way to curb any free expression, reducing all the clear laws and directives that exist, to mere paper. Aided, at times, by pliant law enforcing authorities who looked the other way, they managed to hold the interests of others to ransom.

 

Consider a few instances, random pickings from the Hoot’s 2013 Free Speech Tracker:

  • The police in Chiplun, Maharshtra, decide to drop a speaker – the respected Pushpa Bhave – from a programme the police themselves organized to discuss violence against women – only because the local Shiv Sena objected to her presence as she was a well-known critic of their deceased leader Bal Thackeray!
  • The Tamil Nadu government decided to hold the release of Vishwaroopam, though it had been awarded a certification because they apprehended law and order issues.
  • A special screening is arranged for Muslim clerics to ‘certify’ a film on an anti-terror theme to ensure its safe passage before the film certification board.
  • All these films have one plot in common and no, its not their box-office takings: Vishwaroopam,  Dam 999, Kadal, Kangal Malsat, Jolly LLb., Race 2,Annakodi,Go Goa Gone, Taur Mittran Di, Shootout at Wadala, Sadda Haq, Gouravam, Madras Café, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag,Thalaivaa, (Goliyon k….)Ramleela, Ya Rab…
  • Right-wing Hindu fundamentalist groups targeted documentary film screenings, theatre shows and vandalized art exhibitions while police remained spectators
  • Political insurgency groups vented their ire on Hindi film songs, banning them from being played at weddings and festivals
  • Unsavoury references to various communities and historical characters were excised from text-books and authors like Yogesh Master (Dhundi) and Khetrabasi Naik (Dadan) faced community wrath with the former being arrested for his reference to the Hindu god Ganesh. The latter, who was given a Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, was asked to apologise for his portrayal of migrant workers.

 

But this year also saw resistance to censorship. The Ajoka theatre group from Pakistan, who faced the cancellation of their show ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh’ by the National School of Drama, found another willing theatre venue and the show went on.

 

Hate Speech

 

The year began with confrontations over hate speech, speech with the protests and arrests of Hyderabad MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi and the intense debates over the comments of scholar Ashish Nandy about corruption and the scheduled castes. Cases were lodged against a number of politicians, including Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil and the then Karnataka deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa.

 

While former Union minister Anbumani Ramadoss was arrested, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray continued to evade arrest. But, while BJP leader Varun Gandhi was acquitted in both cases of hate speech lodged against him, two Shiv Sena corporators were convicted, albeit for two months, for hate speeches during the Mumbai riots 21 years ago!

 

Surveillance and Privacy

 

Apart from the stealthy rolling out of the (CMS) at an estimated cost of Rs 400 crores, the year saw almost all the big internet companies coming out with their own transparency reports, following in the lines of the Google Transparency Report. All the reports recorded increases in take down requests from the Indian government. Google reported a 20 per cent hike in requests from India to take down content, Microsoft admitted revealing subscriber data, complying with 370 out of 400 requests. Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report revealed that India made the second largest number of requests – 3,245 in all and the company complied in 50 percent of the requests but requests to Twitter were less than ten percent, the company said. The Indian government finally prevailed upon Blackberry to deploy an interception solution.

 

Privacy issues came up too and the more stringent amendments to rape law were tested in January with a case against Zee News channel for telecasting an interview with the friend of the Delhi gangrape victim. While hearings continued on the privacy case filed by industrialist Ratan Tata, a special team was appointed by the Supreme Court to analyse the Radia tapes.

 

But there are apprehensions that Mumbai police may compromise privacy with the setting up of a social media lab to monitor content on social networking sites. At an inauguration at the hands of a Bollywood actor, police proclaimed that the lab would tune into the content and chatter by young users!

 

Policy

 

Apart from laying down a surveillance mechanism, the Union government took some policy initiatives, including the appointment of a committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, which suggested changes in the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

 

But other developments bode ill for free speech, including government controls, in the form of regulations of advertisements in print and broadcast media, the visa denial to controversial film-maker Callum Macrae, little or no relief in court cases challenging Sec 66 (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 or the attempts by government officers to push for inclusion of Internet companies to follow Indian laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category-wise list of instances

 

Deaths

 

Name : Nemichand Jain

Date : February 02, 2013

Place :Leda village, Sukma district, Chhattisgarh

 

Nemichand Jain, was stabbed to death by unidentified persons when he was returning from a weekly market. He was working in the area as a stringer and used to send news to several media houses. Maoists are suspected to be behind the killing and pamphlets were strewn near his body signed by a local Maoist group.

 

Journalists in the area protested the killing and decided to boycott all news of Maoists, following which a Maoist group issued an apology. However, the killers are still at large.

 

2.

Name : Rakesh Sharma

Date : August 23, 2013

Place : Etawah, Uttar Pradesh

 

Rakesh Sharma (50), a senior reporter with a national Hindi daily, was shot in Bakewar area of Etawah when he was on his way home after work. His body was found by the roadside. According to his family, he got a call as soon as he reached home that evening. He rushed out telling his family that he would be back soon. Initial investigations revealed that he was intercepted by unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle on Bharthana Road and was shot. A passerby identified him and informed others in the area, and also his family. Sharma was rushed to a nearby medical facility, where doctors declared him “brought dead”.

 

No arrests were made and investigations are still on.

 

3.

 

Name :Lekhram Bharti

Date : August 25

Place :Lakhimpur Kheri

 

On August 25, in Lakhimpur Kheri, Lekhram Bharti, a journalist, went to the police station to record a complaint on a personal matter but his foes beat him up and killed him on his return from the police station. However, local journalists believe that the matter must be investigated thoroughly to establish whether the killing was due to his professional work.

 

4.

Name : Zakiullah

Date : August 26, 2013

Place :Bulandshar, Utttar Pradesh

 

The body of Zakiullah (28), missing since August 23, 2013, was recovered in a gunny bag dumped by the roadside in Chola locality under Kotwali Dehat police station of the district. The victim was a resident of Khurja town, situated barely 20 kms from Bulandshahr. The body bore multiple injury marks and it appeared that he was beaten to death. Police were clueless about the probable motive behind the murder and the assailants.

 

5.

 

Name :Shashank Shukla

Date : June, 2013 (date not specified)

Place : Banda, Uttar Pradesh

 

Around one and half months ago, unidentified persons killed Shashank Shukla, a journalist working in Banda, a remote district of the state. A stringer for local television channels, he was a well-known journalist and after vociferous protests by his colleagues, the local administration promised action. But no culprits were apprehended.

 

6.

 

Name : Rajesh Verma

Date : Sept 7, 2013

Place : Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh

 

Freelance journalist Rajesh Verma was shot dead while he was covering the clashes in the PS Kotwali area of the district. He worked for several television channels. More than 28 people died in the clashes in Muzzafarnagar on that day. Verma was covering the public meeting called by some groups to protest the alleged incident of molestation when trouble broke out.

 

7.

Name : Israr

Date : Sept 7, 2013

Place : Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh

 

A photographer, Israr, was beaten to death in the Thana Sikhera area. He was said to be working for the police and recording the meeting called by some groups in Muzaffarnagar to protest the alleged incident of molestation when trouble broke out.

 

 

 

8.

Name :Sai Reddy

Date :December 6, 2013

Place : Basaguda, Bujapur dist., Chhattisgarh

 

A well-known rural journalist, Sai Reddy, was killed by a group of unidentified persons while he was returning from the weekly market in Basaguda in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.

 

Police said that there are unconfirmed reports that Maoists are behind the attack. Reddy was known to be a critical and independent journalist who wrote consistently against corruption, against police atrocities, the Salva Judum and the Maoists. He was arrested in 2008 under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act but was released due to want of evidence.

 

Attacks and threats

 

1.

Incident : Owaisi aides clash with media, police

Date : Jan 11, 2013

Place : Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) supporters and close aides of party MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, who has been charged with sedition, criminal conspiracy and other charges for making a “hate speech”, clashed with policemen and media persons. A day earlier, Owaisi’s aides had targeted the media, attacking CNN-IBN’s vans in Adilabad.

 

2.

Incident : Attack on reporter by Hindutva forces

Date : February 7, 2013

Place :Mangalore, Karnataka

 

Harish Putran, reporter of the city newspaper Karavali Ale, was attacked for an article he wrote on February 6 that the Hindu Jagrana Vedike activists had close links with the drug mafia.

 

The chief editor of the paper, B V Seetharam said that the paper was also receiving threats from the Hindu fundamentalist organization. The paper had filed a case in Suratkal police station but said the police took no action.

 

3.

Incident : Journalist thrashed by CRPF

Date : March 13, 2013

Place : Baramullah, Kashmir

 

CRPF personnel at Cement Bridge, Baramullah, beat Anzar Mehjoor, a journalist who worked for a Srinagar-based news service. The CRPF had blocked the entry for villagers and the journalist had tried to cross the bridge. But though he had an identity card, he was beaten for ten minutes with the butts of their guns. Police and CRPF officers were present but didn’t intervene. Only when some women villagers raised a protest, did they let him go.

 

4.

Incident : Acid attack on Maharashtra scribe, family

Date : March 14, 2013

Place : Purna, Parbhani distt., Maharashtra

 

Dinesh S. Choudhary, 40, his wife Arsana and teenage daughter Rashmi, sustained a grievous acid attack when local Congress activist Sayed Ali ‘Don’ and an unidentified man, barged into Choudhary’s house just before midnight, threw acid on them and escaped.

 

Choudhary worked as a Purna-based district correspondent with Solapur Tarun Bharat newspaper. Narayan Karanjkar, the editor of the publication, said the attack was instigated by Sayed Ali and his accomplices after Choudhary wrote a scathing article on the gutka mafia operating in and around Parbhani.

 

5.

Incident : Actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar and television journalist assaulted

Date :March 28, 2013

Place : Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Well-known actor Sadashiv Amrapukar and a television journalist, who was taking shots of a rain dance in a building society in the North-West suburb of Versova, was assaulted by the organisers of the dance. The television journalist was interviewing the actor for his views on water conservation and the need to observe a ‘dry’ Holi. The latter told the reporter that it was futile talking about water conservation when a rain dance party was on in the adjacent building since 10am. “The reporter said his cameraman would film the rain dance,” a police officer said.

 

The accused spotted the cameraman, and at 5pm, they entered Amrapurkar’s society and assaulted him and took his cassette. When Amrapurkar intervened, they abused and manhandled him as well.

 

6.

Incident : FB post provokes protest

Date : March 29, 2013

Place : Bhiwandi, Maharashtra

 

An Assistant Commissioner of Police and 20 policemen were injured in stone-pelting at various places in the communally sensitive Bhiwandi town near here on Thursday following rumours of an objectionable Facebook post.

 

Four persons were arrested. Meanwhile, police have registered a case against unidentified persons under IPC section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship) and section 67-a of Information Technology Act over the Facebook post.

 

7.

Incident: Journalist beaten up outside CM residence

Date : April 1, 2013

Place : Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

 

Journalist Subhakant Padihary, representing a popular Odia daily, was thrashed by the police when he sought access to an agitation near Odia Chief Minister’s official residence, Naveen Nivas. He tried telling the police at the barricades that he was a journalist and even showed them his identity card, but to no avail. Journalists in the state staged a dharna in protest and demanded immediate suspension of the personnel who baton-charged Subhakant, and Inspector In-Charge of Airfield Police Station Girija Chakravarty, besides seeking transfer of Bhubaneswar DCP Nitinjit Singh.

 

8.

Incident : Brutal attack on TV reporter

Date : April 29, 2013

Place : Dunguripali, Bolangir distt., Orissa

 

Television reporter Amitabh Patra was brutally assaulted by armed police when he was covering an agitation against Lower Suktel Dam in Dunguripali of Balangiri district. His TV camera was smashed and he sustained grievous injury on his head. Police also arrested him but ascribed no reasons for the arrest.

 

9.

Incident : ‘Karavali Ale’ copies burnt, distribution disrupted

Date : April 30, 2013

Place : Mangalore, Karnataka

 

Copies of Mangalore newspaper Karavali Ale were burned and distribution of the newspaper disrupted on two consecutive days on April 28 and 29, allegedly by supporters of Krishna Palemar, a BJP MLA seeking re-election from Surathkal constitutency in Mangalore North. The management of the newspaper said that the politician had violated election codes and has demanded action against him. A complaint has been filed against the MLA.

 

10.

Incident : Attack near Doordarshan : three jawans killed

Date : May 12, 2013

Place : Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh

 

Suspected Maoists attacked the Doordarshan Kendra in Jagdalpur, located at the border of Bastar’s headquarters, killing three Chhattisgarh Police jawans and injuring another. A senior Doordarshan official confirmed that they had never received any threat from Maoists while working in Bastar. “Normally, rebels issue documents, naming their enemies. But, Doordarshan had never found a place on that the list in the past,” he said.

 

10.

Incident : Trinamool supporters attempt to burn journalist alive

Date : June 7, 2013

Place : Barrakpore, Kolkata, West Bengal

 

Supporters of ruling Trinamool Congress and party backed hooligans attempted to burn a journalist alive and badly assaulted four others at Barrackpore, when the reporters went there to cover a murder and violence resulting from a factional clash in the ruling party.

 

Astik Chatterjee, a journalist from ABP Ananda, a Bengali news channel, and Barun Sengupta, a journalist from 24 Ghanta, were both attacked with iron rods and a mob tried to set Sengupta on fire.

 

A group of youth carrying iron rods, wooden sticks and Trinamool Congress flag prevailed upon the journalists when they were shooting the ransacked office of a faction leader.

 

They surrounded the journalists, abused them and demanded they leave the spot. When Sengupta protested, asking them not to interrupt their work, they turned violent and started attacking the journalists with iron rods and sticks. Astik Chatterjee was hit on the head with an iron rod and lost consciousness.

 

Meanwhile, another gang of miscreants caught Barun Sengupta and dragged him into a nearby abandoned house. “They confined me in the room and started beating me. Then one of them poured petrol on me. They were about to burn me alive when some locals stormed inside and after a scuffle, managed to protect me,” said Barun. Barrackpore City Police, led by assistant commissioner Subhankar Bhattacharya, rushed to the spot and managed to rescue the injured journalists. Astik and Barun were taken to Barrackpore BN Bose Hosiptal where they are admitted in a serious condition.

 

Barrackpore City Police chief Sanjay Singh claimed that three persons were arrested in connection with the assault of the journalists. Shibu Yadav, key accused in the attack, was arrested in Bihar a week later along with eight associates.

 

11.

Incident : VHP attack speakers at meet on Ishrat

Date : July 6, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

VHP activists attempted to manhandle Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover at a public campaign ‘Justice for Ishrat Jehan’, the young student who was killed in a fake encounter with Gujarat police in 2005.

 

Police were swiftly called in and arrested the VHP goons, said Adv Grover, who is the lawyer for Shamima Kauser, Ishrat Jehan’s mother. The public meeting continued after the disruption.

 

12.

 

Incident: Grain blackmarketers beat up journalist

Date : July 12, 2013

Place: Ara, Bihar

 

Grain black marketers turned viciously upon Anand Singh, a reporter who captured them in action, and beat him up, destroying his camera and evidence in the process. Singh, who was working with ANI (Asian News International) as a district reporter in Bhojpur district of Bihar, had got a tip-off about the illegal movement of foodgrains from the government godowns to a private rice mill. When he began recording this, he was beaten up.

 

Attempts to call police failed and but he managed to escape and filed a police complaint of assault only to find that the rice mill owner filed a counter complaint of dacoity against him! Singh is still fighting his case.

 

13.

Incident: Mediapersons beaten up by CRPF

Date: July 21, 2013

Place : Srinagar, Kashmir

 

Police and CRPF personnel at Peerbagh ruthlessly beat two staffers of Rising Kashmir, Mohammad Jaffar and Abdul Qayoom, when they were on their way to the press on work. There was heavy deployment of police personnel in the area and though the media house names were clearly emblazoned on their press vehicle, the two were kicked, abused and threatened with dire consequences if they came there.

 

14.

Incident : Photojournalist beaten up at Cong meet

Date : July 19, 2013

Place : Betul, Madhya Pradesh

 

Gyandev Lokhande, a photojournalist, was allegedly beaten up severely by Congress workers and was admitted to the district hospital in unconscious state, police said.

 

The alleged incident took place in the presence of Congress MLA from Tiwsa in Maharashtra, Yashomati Thakur, who had come to Betul as observer for short-listing of Congress candidates for the five Assembly seats in the district. Some party workers thrashed Lokhande for taking pictures, police said.

 

Police have registered a case under section 307 (attempt to murder) against Chent, Ajju alias Ravan and Siraj. They are absconding.

 

15.

Incident : Media attacked for covering BJP party workers’ clash

Date : August 14, 2013

Place : Singur, Kolkata

 

Mediapersons who covered a clash between two factions of the BJP, were in turn, attacked by a mob who did not want the clashes to be covered. The incident happened minutes after party general secretary and observer for the state unit Varun Gandhi left Singur on Tuesday after a hasty interaction with farmers. BJP workers, who even attempted to snatch away cameras, chased the media which was covering the event.

 

A photojournalist was left with broken spectacles and others suffered minor injuries.

 

16.

Incident : Asaram supporters assault media

Date :August 31, 2013

Place :Jodhpur, Rajasthan

 

Supporters of controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, accused of sexually assaulting a minor, attacked mediapersons outside his ashram in Jodhpur. The trouble started after Asaram’s supporters gathered outside the ashram. There was no police outside the ashram and the journalists were attacked, some of whom seriously. Asaram Supporters also pelted stones on an OB van.

 

17.

Incident : Asaram supporters attack journalists

Date : September 2, 2013

Place : Khandwa Road, Indore

 

Volunteers at controversial self- styled godman Asaram Bapu’s ashram here allegedly roughed up a journalist and a photojournalist working with a Hindi daily, police said. The journalists had gone to cover an agitation by Asaram supporters, following his arrest after midnight in connection with the sexual assault case.

 

A manager of the Ashram and two volunteers abused the duo and assaulted them. They also allegedly snatched the camera. Police filed a case under section 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) of IPC against unidentified persons based on the complaint of the reporter.

 

18.

Incident : Journalists lathicharged while covering demonstration

Date : Oct 1, 2013

Place : Guwahati, Assam

 

Several photojournalists were injured in a police lathicharge when they were covering a demonstration organised by the KMSS, led by Akhil Gogoi. According to the Journalists Association of Assam, this is not the first time the police has lathicharged journalists while they were on duty.  The organization demanded an inquiry into the incident.

 

19.

Incident : Actor Aditya Panscholi assaults reporter, breaks camera

Date :  October 11, 2013

Place : Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Actor Aditya Panscholi assaulted a woman reporter working for a TV channel. The reporter’s hand was allegedly hurt by the door of Mr Pancholi’s car and her camera equipment was allegedly destroyed. Journalists had gone to Panscholi’s residence to investigate the involvement of his son in the death of Bollywood actress Jiah Khan.

 

 

Threats

1.

Incident : Police drop activist as speaker after Sena threat

Date : Jan 8, 2013

Place : Chiplun, Maharashtra

 

Police in Chiplun chickened out on a threat from Shiv Sena activists and dropped a well-known academic and activist as a speaker in a police programme on violence against women!

 

In the backdrop of the gang rape in Delhi, the Chiplun police authorities arranged a special programme for girls and women in the city on January 8. The authorities had invited Pushpa Bhave, a senior social worker, author and prominent activist working on gender issues and women’s rights in Maharashtra.

 

Chiplun will also host the annual Marathi literary meet from January 11 and the podium has been named after Sena chief Bal Thackeray. On Saturday, Ms. Bhave criticised the organisers of the festival for naming the podium after Thackeray, who, she said had ‘insulted’ many Marathi authors in the past and was not a writer.

 

Irked by her opposition, the local unit of Sena declared that the party would not allow her inside Chiplun city. The local leaders took a mob of around 200 activists to the police station and pressured them to cancel her part in the programme.

 

Ms. Bhave expressed no surprise at the police action. “This is what we have been seeing all these years… Sena does not believe in discussion and criticism in democracy,” she said.

 

2.

Incident: Maoists ‘threaten’ writer for BBC article

Date: June 12, 2013

Place: Kolkata, West Bengal

 

The Maoists threatened journalist and author Subhranshu Chowdhury for his writings, which they consider to be objectionable.

 

The Maoists have cautioned Chowdhury for his article in BBC’s hindi version – ‘Master ki hat Naxalon ki Kaman (Headmaster to Military Mastermind)’ – where he has said the change of guard in the CPI(Maoist) in Dandhkaranya is one of the main reasons for the brutal attack in South Bastar in Chhattishgarh on May 25. At least 31 people, including former Union minister V C Shukla, senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma and PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, were killed in the attack.

 

Chowdhury had written that the change of leadership from Kosa alias K Suryanarayan Reddy to Ramanna as the new secretary in Dandakarany had led to the attack. The Maoists had earlier released Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna and Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon even though the government turned down their demands. Chowdhury hinted that the latest attack exposed the rift between the modernists and the extremists within the CPI(Maoists).

 

In a press release by the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, the Maoists alleged that “knowingly or unknowingly Chowdhury has become a part of the conspiracy which the ruling class has been doing against the party and the poor people of the country”. The Maoists alleged that Chowdhury wrote half truths and maligned the party’s image.

 

3.

Incident: Bansal threatens scribe

Date: May 13, 2013

Place: Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana

 

Disgraced former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had an altercation with the media and threatened a scribe in the process, barely hours after returning from New Delhi where he quit from the union cabinet. The city press club has sought an apology from him.

 

Bansal got furious when a media person asked him about the companies owned by his family. “I am not here to give you the definition of my family. You come inside and I will tell you,” Bansal told the media person.

 

4.

Incident: Suspected RSS men barge into ‘Hindu’ office

Date: Oct 15, 2013

Place: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

 

Alleged right wing activists reportedly barged into the office of The Hindu at Coimbatore to lodge a protest against an article about the RSS written by senior journalist Vidya Subramanian, which was translated in a newspaper in Tamil brought out by the same media group.

 

They however left after talking to the Editor of the Tamil newspaper, also called The Hindu.

 

“Some RSS men barged into The Hindu office in Coimbatore upset about Vidya’s article that was republished in Tamil. They met the editorial staff of the Tamil Hindu newspaper and then left. We have asked the police to guard the premises,” editor of The Hindu Siddharth Varadarajan told HT over phone.

 

“Vidya has also filed a complaint regarding threatening calls she has received after the article.”

 

Harassment

1.

Incident: TV actor arrested for sending nude pics to woman

Date: Jan 21, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Mumbai police arrested TV actor Sanil Sodhi for sending lewd and obscene pictures and messages on Blackberry Messenger to a woman he knew.

 

Mr Sodhi, who has played small parts in TV serials like Rishte and Hum was arrested on Sunday night, hours after he allegedly sent 25 nude photos of himself to the woman. She was a friend of Mr Sodhi.

 

The actor has been accused under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act for electronically transmitting obscene content.

 

2.

Incident: Case against five youth for lewd comments on FB

Date : Jan 27, 2013

Place : Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

A team of 20 Internet activists have filed a case against five youth (T. Bala Subramanyam, Krishna Mohan, Chi Pavan Kumar, Yoge Pavan, and Parasuramudu) who they alleged have been consistently making derogatory, sexist and indecent comments on women.

 

The team submitted a complaint to Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma, asking him to take action against the five. “They resorted to obscene and indecent representation of women. It is hate speech against the entire community of young girls and women. It is being spread through social media. It is a gross misuse of social media and Internet to spread poisonous ideas about young girls and women,” it said.

 

Censorship: Print

1.

Incident: Blanket gag on media in Kashmir

Date: Feb 11, 2013

Place: Srinagar/New Delhi

 

For the third consecutive day, no newspapers in Kashmir are printing as the media gag is in force in the wake of hanging of Azfal Guru. News channels are jammed and the internet services are withdrawn.

 

“We were informed by the police that they will not be permitting printing of the newspapers so do not make any effort,” Tahir Ahmad of the Kashmir Times said. “They even sent a party to our printing press just to ensure that there is no activity.”

 

No curfew passes were issued to media, so far. “We did approach the government and they said since newspapers are not printing what is fun of issuing a pass,” one journalist, who managed to reach the press colony said. Reports move around either during wee hours or late in the night when there are no or negligible deployments.

 

All the major newspapers are now using their on line editions to give news. But it serves no purpose because internet services have been withdrawn by all the providers including BSNL. The BSNL broadband is available in select areas of Srinagar especially the Press Colony.

 

Even though the news channels are operating, not many people are able to watch news. Cable operators have been asked not to beam the news channels. Only those people have access to news channels who have installed private dishes.

 

2.

Incident : Case against Dhoni: ‘Business Today’ cover

Date: April 4, 2013

Place: Bangalore, Karnataka

 

As reported by news agency PTI, a case has been registered by a Bangalore court against Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni for allegedly denigrating a Hindu god and hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus. The image in question had appeared on the cover of the April 14th issue of Business Today magazine which is published by the India Today group.

 

The image appears to have been created by the magazine and it is not clear whether Dhoni posed for the photograph or if he provided his consent for the image.

 

Hiremath had alleged that by posing for an advertisement in a business magazine as Lord Vishnu holding several things including a shoe in his hands, Dhoni had denigrated the Hindu god and hurt religious feelings of the Hindus. Taking cognisance of the offence and registering the case, the court has posted it to May 12 for recording of the statement of the complainant.

 

3.

Incident: HC allows media coverage of rape trial

Date: Mar 22, 2013

Place: Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed the media to cover the day-to-day trial of the Dec 16 gang rape case in the Saket fast-track court in New Delhi.

 

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, allowing the plea of journalists seeking open trial instead of an in-camera one, directed the fast-track court to allow access to one representative of each media house.

 

“The court will allow access to one representative journalist of each of the accredited national dailies. The petitioners before me represent some of them,” the order said. The court however, imposed some restrictions on the media, saying it would not disclose the name of the victim or her family members or witnesses cited during the trial.

 

The reporters will exclude parts of proceedings that the court instructs them not to report, Justice Shakdher said, setting aside the media advisory issued by the police not to report the court proceedings and order of the trial court

 

4.

Incident: German journo denied permission near Kudankulam plant

Date: July 2, 2013

Place: Idinthakarai, Tamil Nadu

 

A German journalist and his associate were denied entry into Idinthakarai, the epicentre of the ongoing campaign against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, on Monday.

 

Police sources said Sandra Peterson, South Asia correspondent of German Radio Network, and its Indian correspondent Anuj Saxena had come to Kudankulam to gather information about the KKNPP and the ongoing agitation against the ready-to-be-commissioned nuclear reactors.

 

When they went to Kudankulam police station for obtaining formal permission to visit Idinthakarai, the police made enquiries with them for a while. Though they produced their identity cards, they were not allowed to proceed, but sent back to Kanyakumari.

 

5.

Incident: WB HC restores newspapers in public libraries

Date: July 4, 2013

Place:

Kolkata, West Bengal

 

A year and a half after Mamata Banerjee’s government ordered the removal of most English-language newspapers from all state-run libraries, the Calcutta High Court has undone the decision.

 

The court ruled that the most-circulated newspapers in West Bengal, which include The Telegraph and Anand Bazar Patrika, must be made available for readers.

 

In March, the government had banned all English dailies and several other vernacular ones from more than 2000 libraries that the state funds. Eight Bengali newspapers were cleared, most of them seen as loyal to Ms Banerjee and her party, the Trinamool Congress.

 

6.

Incident: Pune varsity withdraws gag order on students

Date: July 29, 2013

Place: Pune, Maharashtra

 

The University of Pune on Saturday night withdrew the implementation of the controversial Ordinance 157 that prohibited students from talking to the media or any other outside agency before forwarding the complaint through the head of the institution. The management council and senate members of the university, shocked by the decision, said the controversial amendment was not introduced during any of the decision-making bodies meetings.

 

7.

Incident: NIA demands identity of news source from editor

Date: Aug 29, 2013

Place: New Delhi/Imphal, Manipur

 

The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), said that the editor of the Naharolgee Thoudang, published from the state capital Imphal, recently received a communication dated August 8 from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), demanding that he hand over the original print or digital image of a picture published in the daily in 2010.

 

The NIA, a recently constituted agency under India’s Union Government, tasked specifically with investigating terrorism cases, has also asked the editor to name the photographer involved in capturing the image of the “raising day” of a banned militant outfit, the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) which has been engaged in an insurgency against government forces since 1978.

 

8.

Incident: Newspaper ban back in Manipur

Date: Sept 6, 2013

Place: Imphal, Manipur

After one day’s distribution of local newspapers on Thursday, the paper boys have refused to deliver copies of newspapers at homes; and the distributing agents to townships and other districts from Friday following fresh threat from an underground organisation.

 

The outfit had banned sale and distribution of the newspapers in retaliation to the refusal by the editors to publish its press releases. For six days the distributors and paperboys, who were also threatened with killings, refrained from duty.

 

9.

Incident: Despite anticipatory bail, police come looking for ‘Hindu’ editor

Date: Sept 22, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Even though the Andhra Pradesh High Court had granted The Hindu’s Resident Editor anticipatory bail in a case concerning a news story that the State’s police chief has objected to, a posse of policemen barged into his residence ostensibly to issue a notice requiring him to appear in the local police station.

 

Eight uniformed policemen forced their way into S. Nagesh Kumar’s house after pushing aside the watchman. Three of them walked right into the dining hall and questioned his 81-year-old mother and daughter on his whereabouts.

 

Around the same time, Inspector Tirupathi Rao of the Panjagutta police station and G.N. Sastry, public relations officer in the office of Director-General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy, called up a reporter of The Hindu, asking him to inform Mr. Nagesh Kumar that he had to be present at the local police station in connection with a complaint in support of Mr. Reddy, following the publication of a report about the latter’s visit to a godman in Old City.

 

10.

Incident: NIA court gags media: Bhatkal case

Date: Oct 10, 2013

Place: Hyderabad/New Delhi

 

The NIA special court in Hyderabad has gagged the media from reporting on investigations and interrogation details of Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar in connection with the Dilsukhnagar twin blasts case.

 

The court directed the print and electronic media not to publish any proceedings of the case without its prior permission.

 

Earlier this week the NIA had filed a petition with the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge in Nampally, which also serves as special court for NIA, arguing that the details of investigations against Bhatkal and Akhtar being published in the media was not only causing damage to the probe but also endangering the lives of witnesses and could lead to destruction of evidence by absconding accused.

 

NIA sources said if any newspaper or broadcast media is found to be relaying sensitive information through their reportage, they would be hauled to courts on the request of the agency.

 

11.

Incident: Govt notice to Kerala paper: anti-national reports

Date: Oct 8, 2013

Place: Kozhikode, Kerala

The Kerala government has served a notice to Malayalam daily Thejas — mouthpiece of Muslim outfit, Popular Front of India — asking it to explain why action should not be taken against the newspaper for publishing reports “that seriously affect the national unity and interest of the country”. The notice issued by Kozhikode Additional DM directed the printer to explain why action should not be initiated under section 8(B) of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.

 

12.

Incident: AAP moved Delhi HC over poster issue

Date: Oct 27, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

Crying foul over authorities removing posters of its party even from households that are willing to put them up, the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday approached the Delhi high court.

 

Based on its petition, a bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Manmohan, have sought a response from the Delhi government, Delhi Police and the Election Commission, by November 15, on allegations of the government curtailing freedom of speech by forcibly removing poll related posters.

 

Appearing for AAP and two residents, advocate Prashant Bhushan argued that, “This move denies the right to freedom of speech of the citizen and the restriction should be set aside immediately…”

 

Urging HC to intervene, he said that police and municipal corporations must be restrained from removing posters from houses under the garb of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property (DPDP) Act. The plea alleged that the said process of removal is a clear violation of the fundamental right of freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed to every citizen of India under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

 

13.

Incident: EC on banning publication of opinion polls

Date: Nov 15, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Election Commission (EC) has written to the law ministry reiterating its long-standing proposal for banning, publishing and dissemination of opinion poll results from the date of notification of elections. In a communication sent to the law secretary on November 12, the Commission forwarded the views of five national parties and 10 state parties on the proposed ban, submitted to it over the last one month. All the parties, except the BJP, have backed the restrictions proposed by the EC.

 

The BJP opposed banning of opinion polls, arguing that it would curb the freedom of expression guaranteed in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

 

14.

Incident: Media entry at Gujarat CMO restricted

Date: Nov 22,2013

Place: Gandhinagar, Gujarat

 

The administration, from Thursday, restricted the entry of even government-accredited journalists into chief minister Narendra Modi’s recently built Rs 150-crore Swarnim Sankul office in the New Secretariat. According to officials, this step had been taken following intelligence inputs warning of terrorists planning to attack the CM disguised as journalists.

 

Security officials at the Swarnim Sankul have been instructed not to allow any journalist in the chief minister’s office (CMO) without prior approval of the official the newsperson may want to meet. On the other hand, all officials – senior and junior – of the CMO have been asked not to meet any journalists. The security officials claimed that the entry of media persons had been restricted allegedly because intelligence alerts had warned of terrorists disguised as journalists attacking the chief minister.

 

Censorship:  broadcasting medium

 

1.

Incident: Sony to drop Crime Patrol show on gang-rape

Date: Jan 11, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked Sony TV not to telecast an episode of its Crime Patrol show based on the Dec 16 Delhi gang-rape, an official source said on Friday.

 

“Sony has been conveyed informally the request not to air the episode,” the official source told IANS.

 

An official behind the show said a week ago that they planned to base the Jan 11-12 episode on the brutal gang-rape and torture of a 23-year-old physiotherapist trainee in south Delhi. The young woman died in a Singapore hospital Dec 29 of her grievous injuries.

 

2.

Incident: Notices to four TV channels in Owaisi case

Date: Jan 11, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

Osmania Univesity (OU) police issued notices to four local TV channels for airing Hyderabad MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi’s Nizamabad and Nirmal speeches. Owaisi was arrested for hate speech earlier. As part of the investigation, police Thursday issued notices to managing directors of 4TV, Ruby TV, Urdu TV and MQ TV under section 91/160 of the CrPC, asking them to produce material evidence in relation to the speeches delivered by the MIM MLA and also ensure camera persons and reporters, who had covered the event, to appear before the investigating officer to record their statement.

 

The OU police have specifically asked managements of these TV channels to get a copy of the licence issued to them by the competent authority. They have also asked the TV channels to produce unedited video footage of Akbaruddin’s speeches aired live by them.

 

According to sources, police would first verify licence of the TV channels and then record statements of the reporters and camera crew who had covered public meetings in Nirmal and Nizamabad.”The reporters and cameramen can be made witnesses,” an OU police officer said.

 

According to a senior police officer, cases could also be booked against the TV channels for airing such inflammatory speeches under section 505 (False statement, rumour, etc, circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against public peace or ill will among difference classes) of the IPC and The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act.

 

3.

Incident: ‘Item’ songs to be barred from TV

Date: Feb 8, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

The so-called “item songs” in films can no longer be shown on television. The government has decided that all such songs will now be rated as adult content and banned from being shown on television channels.

 

The Central Board of Film Certification, or the Censor Board, has told the government that instructions in this regard have already been sent to all its regional offices and everyone else involved in certification of films to give ‘A’ (adult) rating to such songs. “These songs, thus, would not be allowed to be telecast on television as only (a maximum of) ‘UA’ rated content is allowed on television,” said the Censor Board.

 

The move is part of the efforts to check vulgarity and obscenity in television serials and cinema.

 

4.

Incident: Karnataka govt drops charges against Soorinje

Date: June 14, 2013

Place: Mangalore, Karnataka

 

The State Government has dropped all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack. Recently, The Visual Media Journalists Association of Dakshina Kannada district had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging him to drop all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje and TV cameraman Sharan in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack.

 

As per the Cabinet meet on Thursday June 13 it was decided to withdraw cases registered against journalist Naveen Soorinje in the Morning Mist Home Stay attack.

 

5.

Incident: Delhi HC upholds govt step against Comedy Central

Date:May 25, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Delhi High Court has upheld the Centre’s decision to stop for ten days transmission of an entertainment channel for airing “obscene” dialogues and “vulgar” words besides being derogatory to women.

 

Accepting the recommendation of Inter Ministerial Council (IMC), the I&B Ministry on May 17 had asked Comedy Central to go off air from today till June 4 for telecasting “offensive” words in ‘Stand Up Club’ and ‘Popcorn’ programmes on May 26 and July 4 last year.

 

Dismissing a plea of Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd against the government decision, Justice V K Jain said the penalty prohibiting the telecast of the channel for ten days cannot be termed as “excessive, harsh or unreasonable.” “Considering that the penalty could be prohibition of telecast up to 30 days for first violation and up to 90 days in case of second violation, the penalty imposed upon the channel cannot be said to be excessive or unreasonable.

Four days later, the Delhi High Court stayed the ban on the transmission.

 

6.

Incident: Bombay HC restrains channels: actor Salman Khan case

Date: April 26, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

The Bombay high court on Thursday restrained a news channel from repeating the broadcast of a report relating to actor Salman Khan and from broadcasting any similar report connected with the pending criminal trial against the actor in Mumbai in a 2002 case.

 

The actor had moved the HC on Wednesday seeking a restraint order and sought damages for defamation. On Thursday after hearing Khan’s counsel Ravi Kadam, Justice S J Kathawala observed, “I am prima facie satisfied that the Defendants are indulging in broadcasting defamatory allegations against the plaintiff (Salman Khan) which allegations are likely to prejudice the plaintiff in defence to the pending proceedings before the Sessions Court.”

 

The court added, “In view thereof, ad-interim relief is granted in terms of prayer clause (a) of the Notice of Motion. (To restrain the media house from telecasting or repeating the story). The actor had filed the suit and interim application only against one specific channel on its reporting in connection with the 2002 case where the actor’s vehicle hit pavement dwellers in Bandra killing one and injuring others.

 

The trial has now been committed to the sessions court where it will start with an additional charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304-II of the Indian Penal Code.

 

7.

Incident: Court notice to Amitabh, KBC producers

Date: Aug 8, 2013

Place: Ahmedabad, Gujarat

 

A metropolitan court in Ahmedabad issued notices to Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bhachchan, the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), its producer Siddhrath Basu and five others Wednesday after a complaint alleged that its promos present the legal profession in a “derogatory” manner.

 

City-based advocate Davindar Singh Rakkad filed an application before the chief metropolitan Magistrate S V Parekh stating that in the promos of the serial there are several derogatory substance against lawyer fraternity, which have been aired for past several days. The magistrate issued notices against seven persons and sought their reply by August 21 for hearing of the case.

 

In his complaint, Rakkad demanded legal actions against the seven persons involved in the quiz-show including host Amitabh Bachchan under Section 500 of code of criminal procedure (defamation) and various provisions under Information and Technology Act.

 

8.

Incident: Govt shuts down cable service

Date: Aug 10,

2013

Place: Darjeeling, West Bengal

 

The West Bengal government Friday shut down the cable TV network in Darjeeling, prompting the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to term it as a “Taliban style” gag intended to suppress the ongoing movement for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

 

The district administration sent a written notice to the major cable operators ordering them to stop the service, resulting in a TV blackout in Darjeeling as the indefinite bandh called by the GJM entered the seventh day Friday.

 

GJM president Bimal Gurung claimed that cable TV service has been blocked as the local channels aired programmes in support of the Gorkhaland movement.

 

9.

Incident: Case against TV channel for ‘morphing’ news

Date: Sept 15, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

A criminal case was registered against Zee 24 Gantalu, a Telugu TV news channel, on Friday following charges that it morphed the visuals which were aired with a news report on a meeting between DGP V Dinesh Reddy with godman Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba.

 

A case under Section 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the Indian Penal Code and under the sections of Information Technology Act was filed.

 

Earlier, tension prevailed at the office of the vernacular news channel when followers of the godman tried to storm the premises for telecasting a news story highlighting the DGP’s meeting with the former on Thursday.

 

10.

Incident: Colours channel get’s notice: ‘inappropriate’ content in Bigg Boss show

Date: Oct 9, 2013

Place: Mumbai/Delhi

 

The information and broadcasting ministry has sent a show cause notice to a TV channel after it felt that some of the content aired by it on popular reality show Bigg Boss 7 was not appropriate for unrestricted public exhibition.

 

Sources said the ministry had examined the contents of two episodes of the show after it received complaints.

 

A court had also asked the ministry to examine the content aired on the show, they said.

 

Censorship : Internet medium

 

1.

Incident: Fresh summons against 11 US-based websites

Date:  Jan 8 & May 4, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

A Delhi court issued fresh summonses against 11 US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity.

 

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja issued the summons and directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to get them served upon the accused websites.

 

The websites named in the complaint filed against them by journalist Vinay Rai for allegedly committing offences like those of selling obscene materials to the youths and hatching criminal conspiracy include Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft.

 

However, in May, US officials told the Indian government that they cannot serve summons to Facebook and Google executives, as requested by a Delhi court, because that impacts “free speech principles.”

 

 

2.

Incident: Complaint against student for anti-Mamata cartoon

Date: Jan 18, 2013

Place: Kolkata, West Bengal

 

A Police complaint was filed against a college student here today for sharing cartoons of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on his Facebook account.

 

“A Police complaint has been filed by Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TC students wing) against Ram Nayan Choudhury for circulating cartoons indicting Chief Minister in it,” Officer of Bidhan Nagar (north) Police Station Santanu Kar said.

 

Choudhury, who is a second year student of a college in Salt Lake area and an activist of CPI(M) students wing SFI, said the cartoon criticised Banerjee’s industry growth agenda and the arrest of a poor farmer after allegedly branding him as Maoist.

 

3.

Incident: FB case: police skip Sec 66(a), use IPC

Date: Jan 13, 2013

Place: Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

The Bhainsa police booked two locals for promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, abandoning their plan to charge them under Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act for their Facebook post against MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi.

 

The police had planned to include this section in the First Information Report (FIR), but backed off as they did not obtain permission from the Inspector-General of Police concerned, in keeping with a rule the Union government laid down for filing cases under the Act.

 

The arrest of Brajesh Vyas and Navender Murari grabbed headlines, coming as it did after Mr. Owaisi’s ‘hate speech’ stirred up a controversy. But the Bhainsa police plan to include the IT Act in the charge sheet.

 

4.

Incident: 73 urls on IIPM content blocked: DoT order

Date: Feb 15 and March 5, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

In an unprecedented bid to block material critical of controversial business school Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), the Indian government has ordered Internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent access to more than 70 URLs following a court order.

 

The directive was issued on the basis of an order from a court in Gwalior, said Gulshan Rai, director general of CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team-India). The order signed by Subodh Saxena of the department of telecommunications (DoT) was issued on Thursday and was reported earlier on Friday by the Medianama website.

 

Interestingly, the URLs listed include a University Grants Commission (UGC) notification that IIPM is not a university and “does not have the right of conferring or granting degrees as specified by UGC.”

 

The move comes amid criticism of the government for recent steps that have been regarded as attempts to curb freedom of speech.

 

DoT couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. UGC and IIPM representatives also couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

 

In March, 2013, however, a Gwalior court ordered the urls be ‘unblocked’.

 

5.

Incident: Agra resident held for FB posts targeting PM, Mulayam

Date: Feb 19, 2013

Place: Lucknow/Agra, Uttar Pradesh

 

A man in Agra has been arrested for “communal and inflammatory” posts on social networking site Facebook targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union communications minister Kapil Sibal and Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, police said on Tuesday.

 

Sanjay Chowdhary, a resident of the Dayalbagh suburb of Agra, was arrested late on Monday and his laptop, sim card and data card impounded.

 

Police in Agra, about 360 km from here, said the arrest, which some see as an attempt to muzzle freedom of speech and expression on social networking sites, was made on “specific information” about certain “communal and inflammatory” posts by Chowdhary. However, officials here admitted that the “case became hypersensitive after some remarks were made on the SP chief”.

 

6.

Incident: Dot: block 55 FB urls related to Afzal Guru

Date: Feb 19, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

On 14.02.2013, the Department of Telecomunnications also issued similar instructions about Facebook URLs relating to pages about Afzal Guru.

 

As in the case of its order about IIPM, this one (No 813-7/25/2011-DS(Vol-II)-I too is signed by Subodh Saxena and does not provide any reasons as to why it “has been decided to immediately block the access” to the listed URLs.

 

Nor is it clear on what grounds, or under what law, these pages have been sought to be blocked — clearly, DoT’s order has not been implemented as the service providers have not been able to block individual Facebook URLs and they remain accessible.

 

7.

Incident: 111 booked for anti-Kurien comments on FB

Date: Feb 24, 2013

Place: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

 

The Kerala cyber police on Sunday filed cases against a total of 111 people posting and sharing of allegedly defamatory remarks connected to the Suryanelli rape case, which were perceived as against Congress leader and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien.

 

Acting on a complaint from Bindu Krishna, Kerala Mahila Congress chief, cops booked a case against the man who posted the allegedly defamatory comment along with charging 110 others for sharing it, while pointing out that the total number of people involved in “sharing” the post is more than 2,000. Cases have been registered under section 66 A of IT Act.

 

According to cyber police sources, cops have questioned several Facebook users on their “sharing” the allegedly defamatory comment on Kurien comment so far. “The total number of people involved in the case is over 2,000,” said an officer. “No further action has been taken against anybody so far,” he added.

 

Section 66 (A) pertains to the act of “sending messages, or any information, which is grossly offensive, menacing and causes annoyance or hatred, by means of a computer resource or communication device”. It is a bailable offence which, if proved, can fetch the accused a jail term of up to three years.

 

Krishna filed the complaint to chief minister Oommen Chandy a week ago, which was handed over to the cyber police through the state police chief. Officials of State Hitech Crime Inquiry Cell inquired into the complaint and filed a report before cyber police inspector Shaji Lukose, the investigating officer.

 

8.

Incident: ‘Nude’ pictures of Jain monk offends FB

Date: June 29, 2013

Place: Raipur, Chhattisgarh

 

Facebook blocked the account of 23-year-old Anshul Jain Rara with a message on his wall asking him to take down “nude pictures” he had posted.

 

Rara had posted pictures of Muni Shri Punyanandi ji, a Digamabara Jain monk he and his family are ardent followers of. The monks in Digambara (Sanskrit for sky-clad) sect of Jainism do not wear clothes — a symbol of shunning worldly possessions and indifference to earthly emotions such as shame.

 

“The warning came within 12 hours of uploading the photos. My account was blocked for 48 hours,” Rara, a resident of Jashpur, 400km from here, said. “Facebook has hurt the religious sentiment of our community as it said the pictures exhibited nudity and obscenity.” Rara, whose account was unblocked on June 19, has been warned that if he uploads the pictures again, he will be barred from Facebook.

 

9.

Incident: PUCL leader jailed for ‘objectionable’ FB post

Date: May 13, 2013

Place: Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh

 

A senior woman activist of NGO outfit PUCL was sent to jail by a court in Andhra Pradesh after she was arrested over her Facebook post in which some “objectionable” comments were made against Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah and a Congress MLA.

 

Jaya Vindhayal, state general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), was remanded in 12-day judicial custody after she was produced by police before a Prakasham district magistrate at his residence, police said.

 

She was held by Prakasham district police from Padmarao Nagar under section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act for the “objectionable” Facebook post on Rosaiah, a former AP Chief Minister, and Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan.

 

10.

Incident: FIR against FB for hate page

Date: May 21, 2013

Place: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

 

An FIR was today registered against owners of social networking website Facebook for not removing an online community hate page created by some persons who have been using it to “glorify” cow slaughter.

 

IPS officer Amitabh Thakur and his wife and social activist Nutan Thakur lodged the case in Gomti Nagar police station of the city, police said.

 

The US-based company was booked under Sections 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 290 (public nuisance), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of IPC and section 66 A IT Act (sending offensive or false messages), they said.

 

11.

Incident: Punjab Shiv Sena man booked for hurting religious sentiments

Date: June 24, 2013

Place: Ludhiana, Punjab

 

A SAS Nagar man has been booked for allegedly posting an insulting picture of Guru Gobind Singh on social networking website Facebook. Division number-1 police registered the case against the accused, Amit Sharma, under Section 66A (sending offensive messages through communication service) of the Information Technology Act and section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code on Saturday.

 

Sharma is the SAS Nagar president of Shiv Sena. He has been booked following a complaint by Manpreet Singh Bunty, president of Akal Market.

 

In his complaint, Bunty alleged that Sharma posted a derogatory picture of Guru Gobind Singh with derogatory remarks under it.

 

12.

Incident: Govt blocks ‘porn’ sites

Date: June 26, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The government has decided to put a blanket ban on several websites that allow users to share pornographic content.

 

In an order dated June 13, department of telecom (DoT) has directed internet service providers (ISPs) to block 39 websites. Most of them are web forums, where internet users share images and URLs to download pornographic files. But some of these websites are also image hosts and file hosts, mostly used to store and share files that are non-pornographic.

 

While watching or distributing child pornography is illegal in India, watching adult pornography is not banned. The blocked websites are hosted outside India and claim to operate under the 18 USC 2257 rule enforced by the US. The rule specifies that producers of pornographic material are required to retain records showing performers were over 18 years of age at the time of video or image shoot.

 

The DoT order doesn’t specify any reason or law under which the websites have been blocked. It says, “It has been decided to immediately block the access to the following URLs… you are accordingly directed to immediately block the access to above URLs.”

 

13.

Incident: NIT students face suspension over FB posts

Date: Mar 29, 2013

Place: Agartala, Tripura

 

A disciplinary panel of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) has proposed to suspend 57 students for six months over a comment on Facebook against a girls’ hostel superintendent.

 

A seven-member disciplinary committee of the NIT, headed by R S Panua, last week proposed to suspend 57 students from classes for six months. It also suggested suspending the students from the hostel for one year, guardians of some students told reporters.

 

Panua is the dean of students’ welfare at the NIT, Agartala. One of the guardians, who did not wish to be named, said: “The disciplinary committee proposed the punishment after a student equated the hostel superintendent with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in a Facebook post and the remaining students supported the comment.”

 

Most of those proposed to be suspended are girls some of them final semester students who have just one month left to complete their courses. Some of the students have even got jobs through campus interviews. The NIT authorities refused to comment on the issue.

 

14.

Incident: Student expelled for ‘abusive’ content on FB confessions page

Date: April 10, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Kalyani Bharadwaj, a second-year architecture student from the Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture in Kharghar, was expelled from the institution for her involvement in setting up a Confessions page on Facebook for college students. College authorities have claimed that the page in question has since been shut, but one page under the same name was visible on the website.

 

15.

Incident: PIL in SC: watching porn non-bailable office

Date: April 16, 2013

Place: Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to various ministries of the central government on a PIL seeking modification of internet laws to make watching pornography a non-bailable offence.

 

A bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices A R Dave and Vikramjit Sen issued notice on Kamlesh Vaswani’s petition saying existing laws had failed to prohibit proliferation of internet pornography and alleged that it was affecting the younger generation and resulting in increasing sexual assaults on women.

 

16.

Incident: BJP leader booked under IT Act for morphed pics of Cong leaders

Date: July 3, 2013

Place: Jalandhar, Punjab

 

A local BJP activist has been booked under Information Technology Act for posting a morphed picture of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on his Facebook showing her in bad light.

 

Two days back BJP activist Sandeep Bhalla posted the picture in which Sonia Gandhi’s face was morphed into an animal’s. On Sunday local Congress leader Sanjay Sehgal moved a complaint with Commissioner of Police Gaurav Yadav stating that Bhalla’s act attracted action under IT act. Acting on this police registered a case under section 66A of IT Act.

 

A visit to Bhalla’s FB wall revealed that he is a Narendra Modi admirer and had posted messages wishing to see NaMo as next Prime Minister. He had also posted picture of Nitish Kumar after pasting his head on a reptile’s body.

 

17.

Incident: Modi spoof site taken down

Date: July 29, 2013

Place: New Delhi, July 17: A website mocking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has died a quick death after backlash forced its creator to remove all content, with a declaration “I quit”.

 

The website, narendramodiplans.com, which promised to reveal the Gujarat chief minister’s ‘plans to run the nation if elected Prime Minister’ but made visitors click on a quirky runaway link, has shut down in less than a day after its debut.

 

18.

Incident: Internet, 3G services suspended in Valley

Date: July 26, 2013

Place: Srinagar, Kashmir

Mobile and 3G internet services were suspended Thursday in the Kashmir Valley after the killing of six civilians by the BSF in Jammu’s Ramban district.

 

The services were suspended in the latter half of the day. Though government said they had issued no orders to snap the internet services, telecom operators said they had received a “non-verbal” communiqué to suspend the services as a precautionary measure.

 

19.

Incident: Kerala CM Oommen Chandy suspends employees for FB posts

Date: July 6, 2013

Place: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerela

 

Protests have broken out in Kerala against the suspension of 3 government employees who posted comments against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on their Facebook account.

 

The comments posted by the employees were in connection with the solar panel scam that has rocked the Chandy government.

 

In a major embarrassment, Chandy’s former personal assistant was arrested in connection with the scam.

 

 

20.

Incident: Fresh charges under Sec 66 (a) for Air India employees

Date: July 21, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Fresh charges under Sections 66A and 67 of the IT act and Section 506(2) of IPC (criminal intimidation), have been filed against the Air India employees – Mayank Sharma and K Jagannath Rao, even as police dropped charges of dishonouring the national flag in FB posts.

 

Mr. Sharma and Mr. Rao, who were arrested in May 2012 and spent 12 nights in jail before they secured bail, have written 30 letters to senior police officers and other authorities. They drew attention to the illegal actions of the five policemen, from the cyber police station, who entered their houses after midnight and took them away apart from confiscating their identity cards, computers, phones and passports. The complainant, Sagar Karnik, a member of a rival trade union, had even accused them of threatening him with death.

 

21.

Incident; Derogatory FB post on Ambedkar sparks tension

Date: Aug 14, 2013

Place:

Thane, Maharashtra

 

A “derogatory” picture of Babasaheb Ambedkar, posted on a social networking site by unknown persons sparked trouble in Ulhasnagar township, prompting several traders to shut shops, police said.

 

The incident took place after some locals brought the alleged derogatory picture (posted on the bogus account of one Sachin Meshram on Facebook) to the notice of policemen and demanded immediate action against the accused.

 

According to police, the account was hacked by some miscreants who posted this picture on FB.

 

As soon as the news spread, the areas between Hiraghat and Sector 5 witnessed stone pelting and traders were forced to shut their shops, they said.

 

22.

Incident: Dalit scholar arrested for FB post supporting Nagpal

Date: Aug 16, 2013

Place: New Delhi

New Delhi

 

The Supreme Court on Friday sought an explanation from Uttar Pradesh government for arresting a Dalit scholar for allegedly writing a post on Facebook in support of suspended IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal.

 

A bench headed by Justice H L Gokhale, issued notice to the state government asking them to file their response for arresting writer Kanwal Bharti, in violation of its order.

 

Bharti, author of various books dealing with problems faced by Dalits, in his post had said that the Gautam Budh Nagar SDM was suspended for alleged demolition of wall of a mosque. However, Bharti was granted bail in the matter.

 

23.

Incident: Delhi Govt. bans teacher-student bonding over social media

Date: Sept 7, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

To protect children from various forms of abuse, the Delhi government has drawn up elaborate guidelines for educational institutes. The guidelines say teachers must not have any relations with students on social networking sites.

 

In its guidelines for online safety, the government has decided to implement Internet safety protocols in schools. Apart from barring teachers from having any relationships on social media sites, the guidelines prohibit them from taking photographs of children without their permission.

 

“No child must be recorded in any manner that makes them uncomfortable and children must always be asked before taking photographs,” said a Delhi government official.

 

“The guidelines cover the recruitment process. No one with a criminal record can be hired at an institute,” the official added.

 

24.

Incident: VIT students forced to remove FB posts

Date: Oct 11, 2013

Place: Vellore, Tamil Nadu

 

In a bid to silence criticism of its rules, the VIT University, Vellore, has sent home two women students after they posted Facebook comments questioning rules imposed on girl students alone.

 

One of the two students posted on Facebook the details of a conversation she had with a university official about extending the time by which women should be back on the campus.

 

25.

Incident: EFLU students given show cause notices: FB posts

Date: Oct 11, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

Two students of The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), both belonging to a minority community, were handed show cause notices, issued by the Proctor’s office and signed by Deputy Proctor Sujata Mukhri, for expressing their opinion on Facebook about remarks made by a member of the administration at a students’ general body meeting organised by the administration to select the electoral committee for the upcoming students’ union election.

 

26.

Incident: Sena men protest ‘offensive’ FB post against Thackeray

Date: Oct 15, 2013

Place: Kalyan, Maharashtra

 

A Facebook page purportedly carrying derogatory comments against Shiv Sena and late Bal Thackeray sparked tension in Kalyan on Tuesday night, prompting authorities to deploy scores of riot-control and reserve police personnel.

 

Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks marched towards the residence of Dhananjay Pathak, who they accuse created the page, at Madhav Sankalp Housing Society in Khadagpada, demanding action against him.

 

The crowd dispersed only after cops assured of action against Pathak, who could not be immediately traced. Pathak apparently told his wife that he would be turn himself in around midnight and that he never created any page on Sena. Police sources said Pathak’s wife said someone had hacked her husband’s FB account.

 

27.

Incident: FIR lodged: anti-Pawar FB post

Date: Nov 16, 2013

Place: Mumbai

 

An FIR has been registered against a man in the neighbouring Navi Mumbai for allegedly posting “offensive and humiliating” messages about NCP chief Sharad Pawar on a social networking site, police said on Friday.

 

No arrests have been made, with police saying appropriate action would be initiated after a proper probe. They also did not reveal the content of the messages posted on Facebook.

 

According to Nerul police station, an NCP worker saw the posts on Facebook about Pawar and found them “offensive and humiliating”. He complained to the police on Wednesday, following which an FIR was registered against one Pravin Pisal.

 

28.

Incident: SC seeks Centre, WB govt response on PUCL petition on IT Act

Date: Nov 22, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Supreme Court on Friday asked three Central ministries and West Bengal government to respond to a public interest litigation seeking relief, including a stay, on the operation of a provision of the Information Technology Act that provides three years jail term for offensive online speech or writing.

 

A bench of justices R M Lodha and Shiva Kirti Singh issued notices to the West Bengal government and Ministries of Home Affairs, Law and Justice and Communications and Information Technology on the plea of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

 

Besides Section 66A of the IT Act that gives punitive power to police, PUCL has also challenged certain provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules and the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules which deal with the blocking of websites.

 

It has sought a direction for formation of a committee of experts in law and information technology to review fresh complaints under Section 66A of the of the IT Act. No FIR be registered till the court decides the PIL, it said, adding the reasons for blocking the websites be “displayed” by the designated authorities during the pendency of the petition.

 

29.

Incident: Student suspended for brother’s FB post

Date: Nov 27,2013

Place: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

 

A Class X student of a Lucknow school was suspended on Tuesday because his brother who passed out from the same school this year criticized the institution on Facebook.

 

Anubhav Dwivedi’s elder brother Anupam accused the New Way Senior Secondary School management of favouring students who are good only in academics and ignoring others who excel in sports and extra-curricular activities. Anupam made allegation while referring to the school’s annual function which was held recently after six years. The post on Anupam’s wall page has got several comments.

 

School principal Rita Srivastava denied that Anubhav had been suspended because of his brother’s comments. “He misbehaved with us. We have called the parents to discuss the matter on Wednesday,” she said.

 

30.

Incident: FIR lodged against author Taslima Nasreen

Date: Dec 6, 2013

Place:Kolkata

 

Shocked to hear that an FIR was lodged in Lucknow against her for allegedly hurting religious sentiments in a tweet last month, controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen on Thursday said she had only spoken the truth.

 

“I am shocked to hear this. How can this happen in a democratic country like India where the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression,” wondered the 51-year-old author who was forced to flee from Bangladesh after threats from fundamentalists for hurting religious sentiments.

 

A case against her was lodged last night at Kotwali police station by Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan, son of the ‘sajjadanasheen’ of Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat Maulana Subhan Raza Khan Subhani Miyan, who objected to certain tweets by her against clerics on November 6.

 

After Arvind Kejriwal sought support for his Aam Aadmi Party from controversial Uttar Pradesh cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, Taslima had criticised the meeting on Twitter.

 

In 2007, the Maulana had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh on the author’s head if New Delhi did not restrict her entry to the country.

 

31.

Incident: Activist-journalist gets anticipatory bail

Date: Dec 7, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

Activist and journalist Sheeba Aslam Fehim, against who an arrest warrant was issued for an allegedly ‘anti-national’ Facebook post, was given anticipatory bail by the Sessions Court magistrate, Savita Raval, on December 7.

 

Ms Fehmi, said the judge granted the bail but asked her to abstain from any ‘anti-Hindu comments’ but she said she had never made any comments that could be construed as ‘anti-Hindu’.

 

The case arose out of a complaint in August 2012. In a statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, she received an email from unknown source threatening her of dire consequences for expressing her opinion over social media terming those as ‘anti-national’. She filed an FIR under section 66 (A) of Information Technology Act 2000.

 

However, the accused Mr. Pankaj Kumar Dwivedi, son of Sh M.P. Dwivedi has been discharged from all charges on October 10, 2013. Ms. Fahmi informed AHRC that she was never informed of the outcome nor she was summoned to depose her statement. The Metropolitan Magistrate (Central) has ordered action against her under section 153 (A), 153(B) and section 295 A IPC. She has recently learnt through media that a non-bailable warrant against her has been issued and she may be arrested at any time.”

 

 

Censorship: Film, Theatre, Art, Music, Literature, Education,

 

Film

 

1.

Incident: ‘Vishwaroopam’ screening banned for security reasons

Date: Jan 24, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

Hours ahead of its release, Kamal Haasan’s much-awaited Vishwaroopam was banned for two weeks in Tamil Nadu. Citing ‘law and order’ reasons, the State government took a decision to empower District Collectors to invoke Section 144 of Cr.PC and restrain theatre owners from screening the movie on January 25.

 

The ban on screening the film came on a day the Madras High Court ruled that the State government had no power to prohibit plays or insist on prior police permission to stage them. A similar ban on The da Vinci Code was struck down by the High Court a few years ago.

 

Scheduled to hit the screens on Friday, tickets in many theatres across the State were sold out. The decision to ban Vishwaroopam was taken after a high-level meeting at the Secretariat here. The move also followed allegations made by some Muslim organisations that the movie portrayed their religion in poor light.

 

However, a week later, the Madras High Court lifted the suspension on the release after the film’s producer appealed to the court that the apprehension of law and order was an attempt by the state government to stall the release of the film.

 

2.

Incident: Ban on ‘Dam 999’ in TN to stay: SC

Date : Jan 25, 2013

Place : Delhi

 

The Supreme Court Thursday declined the petition by Sohan Roy – the producer and director of film ‘Dam 999’ – challenging a ban on the screening of the film in Tamil Nadu. Sohan Roy, the director and producer of ‘Dam 999’ filed a complaint saying that the film was released everywhere but in Tamil Nadu, so the court should allow for its release here too. The court has not taken that into heed as they say that an entire state’s well-being is more important to them than an individual’s wish.

 

The film was supposed to be released on the 25th of November 2011 but was being postponed due to unavoidable reasons. The ban has been extended time to time and the present ban is for three months. ‘Dam 999’ stars Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapur and was shot in Kerala.

 

3.

Incident: Mani Ratnam’s ‘Kadal’ faces protests from Christian groups

Date: Feb 5, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

Ace director Mani Ratnam’s ‘Kadal’ (Sea) is now facing opposition from a Christian outfit which is piqued over some scenes in the movie.

 

Indian Christian Democratic Party alleged the film had objectionable scenes referring to Christianity and sought their deletion and warned of intensifying their protests if police do not initiate action

 

4.

Incident: Censor Board blocks film critical of Mamta

Date: Feb 25, 2013

Place: Kolkata, West Bengal

 

The Censor Board has refused to clear a Bengali film for taking potshots at the swearing-in ceremony of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Singur movement that forced the Tatas to exit the state.

 

Starring rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman, Kangal Malsat (War Cry of Poor) is directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay. It is based on a book written by eminent litterateur Mahasweta Devi’s son Nabarun Bhattacharya.

 

“The way the honourable CM’s oath taking ceremony has been shown seems distortion of history and may hurt many common people of West Bengal and create sensation (violence),” the letter issued by the Central Board of Film Certification to the film’s producers, says.

 

The film shows a person watching the swearing-in ceremony with disdain. It also has a controversial shot of Kabir Suman saying in Bengali, ‘The Tatas have cut a sorry figure. Now there are so many committees. They are making Kolkata into London…”

 

5.

Incident: Meerut lawyers move court against ‘Jolly LLB’

Date: Mar 7, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

A group of lawyers from Meerut Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the release of Jolly LLB which is due to hit the screens next week. Claiming that the movie trailer, currently on air, is “defamatory to lawyers” and amounts to “contempt of court”, the lawyers asked the court to order a stay on the release of the film. But the bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain declined to stay the release of the film simply on the basis of the trailer.

 

“It is only a trailer and at this stage it is difficult for us to find out in what context it was said,” the bench said. The court, however, reserved its final order on the plea.

 

6.

Incident: Ban sought for Race 2 over vulgarity

Date: Mar 20, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Delhi High Court Wednesday expressed displeasure over Hindi film Race 2 following a petition that it showed nudity and vulgarity. “Please think where the film industry is going. You are teaching indiscipline to children,” a division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said.

 

They were hearing a PIL alleging that the film was vulgar and showed nude scenes. It sought a ban on the movie. The court’s observation came after the counsel appearing for the producers and director of Race 2 said the Central Film Certification Board (CBFC) had already cleared its release.

 

The court sought response from the ministry of information and broadcasting, CBFC and Delhi government. The petition was filed by social worker Teena Sharma.

 

7.

Incident: Petiton seeks ban on ‘Annakodi’

Date: June 26, 2013

Place: Madurai, Tamil Nadu

 

Seeking a ban on the screening of Tamil movie ‘Annakodi‘ produced by Bharathiraja, a writ petition has been filed before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

 

The petition, filed by Thevar Pasarai Iyakkam’s president A K Ragupathy contended that since the film tells a love story between a thevar girl and a dalit boy, the same will create communal clash between two groups and thereby public order will be worsened.

 

The petitioner also stated that even though the contents of the film are against Section 5B (Principles for guidance in certifying films) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the Central Board of Film Certification certified the film and granted permission for the screening of the movie.

 

8.

Incident: NCW notice on ‘Go Goa Gone’ song

Date: May 27, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

The National Commission for Women has issued notice to the producers of the Saif Ali Khan starrer Go Goa Gone, raising objections in the song ‘Slowly Slowly’ for using “offensive, abusive words including whore.”

 

The notice sent last week has sought a reply within 10 days about the action taken following the complaint by the NCW. The complaint was initially received by the Women and Child Development Ministry and thereafter forwarded to the Commission.

 

The notice has been sent to Eros International CEO Kishore Lulla, Illuminati and Films Pvt Ltd founders Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan asking them to ensure that the ‘offensive’ song is immediately deleted from the film and banned from public broadcast.”

 

The Commission was told the song is “offensive and contains lyrics that encourage violence against women. It also contains veiled references to drug abuse through language that is particularly used as code for certain drugs.”

 

9.

Incident: Non-bailable warrants against cast of Punjabi movie

Date: May 29, 2013

Place: Sangrur, Punjab

 

Failing to appear in the court in spite of summons, Sunam sub-divisional judicial magistrate Harsimranjit Singh today issued non-bailable warrants against the cast and crew of Punjabi movie ‘Taur Mittran Di‘. The warrants have been issued against actors Jimmy Shergill, Amarinder Gill, Ranvijay Singh, actress Surveen Chawla, director Navniat Singh and Sunil Lulla from Eros International productions.

 

On September 11, 2012, Arpinder Singh Sidhu, president of bar association of Moonak, had filed criminal complaint against Jimmy Shergill, co-producer of the film, charging him with defaming the lawyer community and its profession.

 

10.

Incident: Valmiks halt ‘Shootout…” screening, burn film posters

Date: May 8, 2013

Place: Hisar, Haryana

 

Members of the Valmiki community stopped the screening of Bollywood movie Shootout at Wadala at Sun City Mall in Hisar today.

 

Activists of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharma Samaj led by its state secretary Gaurav Bhim went to the Sun City Mall where filming of Shootout at Wadala was in progress and forced its managers to stop the screening. The film was released throughout the country on Friday. The activists collected posters of the movies and set them on fire outside the mall. A police party soon arrived there on the request of the mall owners and pacified the protesters.

 

Bhim alleged that some dialogues in this movie were derogatory towards the Valmikis. He maintained that the film had already been banned in Punjab and now they would not allow it to be screened in Haryana.

 

Jagmohan Lohia, manager of the mall, said the organisers had themselves stopped the afternoon show of the film looking into the growing anger among the Valmikis. “We have no intention of hurting religious sentiments of any community and hence we will not resume the film’s shows till the matter is resolved,” he added.

 

11.

Incident: ‘Shootout at Wadala’ faces ban in Punjab after protests

Date: May 6, 2013

Place: Ludhiana, Punjab

 

Bollywood film based on Mumbai-gangsters Shootout at Wadala has been banned from screening in various theatres across Punjab on Sunday (May 5). Several theatres in Punjab decided not to screen the film after a group called ‘Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj’ protested against the film.

 

12.

 

Incident : Sadda Haq banned by Punjab govt

Date : April 5, 2013

Place : Chandigarh, Punjab

 

The Punjab government on Thursday imposed a ban on the screening of Sadda Haq, a film claimed to be based on the events in the 1980s and 1990s when the state suffered from militancy. The film was scheduled for release on Friday.

 

The decision to ban the film was taken at a meeting headed by the Punjab chief secretary in Chandigarh after a special screening of the movie. An official spokesperson said the release of the film was banned “to maintain communal harmony in the state”. The film will not hit the theatres in the state “till further orders”, the government said.

 

Sadda Haq is claimed to portray several issues, including the murder of a human rights’ activist, alleged police torture, fake encounters, jailbreak and the assassination of a politician.

 

Sources said the screening panel thought the film could disturb communal peace in Punjab. Earlier, the Central Board of Film Certification had declined to give a certificate to the movie.

 

The film was later cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) – the apex religious body of Sikhs – had extended its support to the film after learning that the censor board had objected to a slogan in the film ‘Raaj Karega Khalsa‘ (the pure would rule), which is commonly used in Sikhism.

 

13.

Incident: Gounder community seeks ban on ‘Gouravam

Date : April 8, 2013

Place Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

The ‘Gounder’ community in Tamil Nadu has urged the state government to ban Prakash Raj’s Tamil-Telugu bilingual production venture Gouravam, contending that it feared the honour killing story may instigate communal disharmony.

 

Gouravam, which features debutant Allu Sirish and Yami Gautam in the lead, is directed by Radha Mohan. The film’s tentative release date is April 19.

 

They have submitted a written petition to the Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam — avowedly representing the Gounder community and the neglected Kongu region of Tamil Nadu — which will in turn forward it to the state government.

 

14.

Incident: Ban on ‘Madras Café’ sought

Date: July 19, 2013

Place: Tamil Nadu

“Naam Thamizhar” (We Tamils), a Tamil activist party, has sought a ban on John Abraham-starrer Madras Cafe for showing the members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as terrorists in the recently released trailer of the movie.

 

“We have requested the government of Tamil Nadu to intervene and stop the film from releasing. We would like to see the film before its release as it is learnt from the trailer that LTTE cadres were shown as terrorists,” Tamil filmmaker Seeman, who heads the party,

 

15.

Incident: Hindu right-wing group wants song dropped from ‘Bhaag Milkha…

Date : July 30, 2013

Place: Goa

A right-wing Hindu organisation demanded removal of a song from the recently-released Farhan Akhtar starrer ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag‘, describing it as ‘denigratory’, according to various reports.

 

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) has objected to the song ‘Havan Karenge’ in the movie, saying that the term ‘havan’ is considered holy in Hinduism. The memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar demands that the song be dropped from the film.

 

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag‘ has been made tax-free in Goa for three months. However, the organisation says, “The decision to make the film tax-free is like rubbing salt on the wounds of the majority community.”

 

16.

Incident: Thalaivaa faces political ire, release stalled

Date: Aug 8, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Members of a political activist group, who claim Thalaivaa to be a political film, have warned theatres not to screen the film.

 

“The tickets for most shows for Friday and Saturday were sold out in most theatres in the city, but since afternoon all theatres have blocked advance booking for Thalaivaa because they are being threatened by political activists,” a source from the industry said.

 

“According to these activists, the film is taking a political dig at some sensible issues, which has not gone down well with these members,” he added.

 

Refuting rumours that Thalaivaa is a political film, actor Vijay said the film would release as scheduled on Friday.

 

17.

Incident: Protests over ‘Ram Leela’ title, film banned in UP

Date: Sept 21, Nov 14& Nov 22, 2013

Place: Mumbai Maharashtra

 

A court here Saturday told police to register a case against Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, actor Ranveer Singh, actress Deepika Padukone and others for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of people in their upcoming movie Ram Leela, a lawyer said.

 

A complaint was filed by advocate Pawan Sharma in the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate.

 

“In the complaint, we have stated that going by the promo, the movie Ram Leela, which is slated for release Nov 15, is promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion,” Sharma said.

 

He said that the court took cognizance of the compliant and asked the Shyam Nagar police in the city to register a first information report (FIR).

 

“The court has directed the police to investigate the complainant,” said Sharma.

 

By November, the film went through two title changes – from Ramleela to Ram-Leela and then finally to Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela but it was still banned in Uttar Pradesh, following an order of the Allahabad High Court.

 

18.

Incident: Case against Aamir Khan for ‘hurting religious sentiments’

Date: Oct 11, 2013

Place: Delhi

An FIR was lodged against Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, Director and other actors under-production movie PK for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments” during the shooting of the film in Chandni Chowk area here today.

 

The FIR was lodged after locals objected to a scene in which a man dressed as Lord Shiva was pulling a rickshaw in which two burqa-clad women were sitting.

 

Initially, people thought the actors were members of a Ram Leela party but on seeing cameras they inquired about the issue.

 

19.

Incident: Anti-terror film ‘passes’ clerics muster

Date: Nov 7, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

A group of clerics has endorsed the soon-to-be released anti-terrorism film Ya Rab. Organized by city-based Markazul Maarif, an educational and religious research institute, the ulema attended a special screening of the film and suggested a few minor changes. However, they appreciated the film’s message that terrorists who perpetrate their heinous acts in the name of Islam are actually enemies of the faith.

 

“The film is timely and important to fight the culture of radicalization. It shows how certain misguided elements seek to hijack the faith but finally it is the genuine followers of the faith who win,” said a senior cleric. The idea of showing the film to the clerics came from filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt who fought the battle on the film’s behalf to get it certified by the film tribunal.

 

“We have noted their objections and will remove the same,” said producer Mohsin Ali Khan.

 

Documentary film screenings disrupted, film-makers attacked

 

1.

Incident : Kashmir film festival vandalised

Date : September 7, 2013

Place : Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

A travelling film festival on Kashmir was disrupted and equipment, including computers and cameras of film-makers and organisers, were damaged by a mob at Prasad Lab preview theater in Hyderabad. Three persons were also attacked, including film-makers Ajay Raina and Sanjay Kak and a staff member of the theatre.

 

The mob smashed the plait glass door and windows, TV screens, flower pots on the ground floor, forcibly entered the projection room, smashed a hard disk belonging to the film theatre, removed some film material and set it on fire.

 

They also destroyed the monitor of the projector and removed a laptop belonging to film-maker Ajay Raina. A staff member of the theater, who tried to retrieve the laptop, was badly beaten up and chased by the mob. Film makers, Siddhartha Giggo and Sanjay Kak were also attacked by the mob.

 

2.

Incident : ABVP supporters attack students, disrupt film screening

Date : August 22, 2013

Place : Pune, Maharashtra

 

Two members of the cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) and two students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were injured on Wednesday night after being beaten up, allegedly by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) outside the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).

 

The FTII students’ body and social group Yugpath had organized the screening of noted documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s Jai Bhim Comrade at the NFAI followed by a musical programme by KKM. The film screening was organised as a tribute to slain anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar.

 

All four injured have been admitted to Joshi Hospital. One of them suffered a head injury. A police complaint was lodged following the incident.

 

Theatre

 

1.

Incident : Trinamool supprters threaten veteran theatre personality

Date :Jan 17, 2013

Place : Cooch Behar, West Bengal

 

A group of Trinamool Congress workers on Monday allegedly gheraoed veteran theatre personality Benu Chattopadhyay at Cooch Behar’s Dinhata. The move may trigger protests by intellectuals, who plan to take to the streets to protest against the “harassment” on Thursday.

 

The party activists were miffed with the use of the words ‘Maa Mati Manush er sarkar’ and ‘Didi’ in his play and demanded an apology from the 71-year-old thespian.

 

Though Chattopadhyay said that he hadn’t used the words, he was forced to apologize for the safety of his team. He returned to Kolkata on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Chattopadhyay may also take part in the protest for “freedom of speech and expression” but he said he was not sure if it will “help to put a stop to this anarchy”.

 

2.

Incident: Plays by Pak groups cancelled

Date: Jan 18, 2013

Place: Delhi

Fearing trouble, the National School of Drama, which organises the annual theatre festival Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), cancelled shows by NAPA Repertory Theatre and Ajoka Theatre. Both were due to stage plays on Saadat Hasan Manto, who chronicled the horrors of Partition and supported a tolerant society.

 

The curtains came down on NAPA a few hours before it was to stage Mantorama, directed by Sunil Shankar, at Kamani auditorium Thursday.

 

“The Ministry of Culture was apprehensive that disruptive elements might not allow the play to proceed smoothly. They do not want the audience to be hurt or injured and have decided to withdraw the two shows,” said NSD chairperson Amal Allana.

 

BRM is considered Asia’s largest theatre festival and features a selection of Indian and foreign productions. Pakistani troupes have always been a part of the line-up, with Ajoka having taken part more than five times.

 

The warning bells rang Wednesday, when Ajoka’s Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh, which was to be presented at Ravindra Manch in Jaipur as part of a parallel festival, was cancelled. The play, directed by Madeeha Gauhar, revolves around events after Manto’s migration to Pakistan.

 

However, on Jan 20, 2013, the play was staged at another venue – the Akshara Theatre, run by veteran theatre actors, Gopal Sharman and Jalabala Vaidya. The latter said her theatre group stood for independence of institutions: “Art and sports should never be dragged in whenever there is war mongering on either side.”

 

Art

 

1.

Incident: VHP-Bajrang Dal vandalise art show

Date: August 17, 2013

Place: Ahmedabad

 

More than a dozen men allegedly associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajarang Dal vandalized an art gallery in Ahmedabad where exhibition of Pakistan artists’ paintings was held.  The members stormed gallery “Amdavad no gufa” created by late painter MF Hussain and a noted architect BV Doshi. The show “An Art Affair” had pairings of 11 Pakistan artists and six Indian artists. The show was brought to Ahmedabad from Mumbai.

 

“They stormed the gallery and started destroying the paintings shouting that the Pakistan army is killing Indian soldiers on the border,” said a witness who was at the gallery. The exhibition organizer, Ravindra Maradia, lodged an FIR against 15 unidentified persons for vandalising the art show.

 

2.

Incident: Nude paintings removed from Bangalore show

Date: Feb 2, 2013

Place: Bangalore, Karnataka

 

Calls from unidentified persons to the High Grounds police and a subsequent “intelligence report” saw a young artist from Delhi––Anirudh Sainath Krishnamani––scamper for help at the Chitra Kala Parishath (CKP) here on Monday.

 

Continuing trend of expressing dissent over art forms in the country, three out of the many works exhibited by Anirudh, in his 20s, at CKP, were removed from the gallery. Ironically, Governor H R Bhardwaj had inaugurated his exhibition of paintings just a couple of days ago.

 

3.

Incident: Hindu outfit forces artist to take paintings off exhibition

Date :  April 9, 2013

Place :Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Activists of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) Saturday forced a Kolkata-based painter to remove two canvases depicting Hindu goddesses in the nude. The Jehangir Art Gallery that was hosting the exhibition, as well as officers of Colaba police station, urged her to comply in the interest of peace.

 

Painter Eleena Banik had painted Goddess Kali without the usual garland of skulls and another of Goddess Durga wearing a fig leaf cover of strawberries. “As an artist I retain the freedom to interpret my culture. Those who object to my art, or of M F Husain and Akbar Padamsee, have not read Hindu mythology where our deities are depicted nude. I drew Durga this way to empower women after the Delhi gang-rape,” she said.

 

Banik accused Varsha Thakar of the HJS of “threatening her” and “forcibly taking photographs” of the paintings.

 

Music

1.

Incident : Kashmir’s all-girl rock band faces threats, disbands.

Date : February 5, 2013

Place : Srinagar, Kashmir

 

Kashmir’s all-girl rock band Pragaash, meaning moving towards light, on Monday disbanded in the face of frenzied opposition from hardliners in the Valley.

 

It all started after school girls Noma Nazir, Farah Deeba and Aneeka Khalid performed for the first time in December last year.

 

Abuses and rape threats poured in, until on Sunday the grand priest Mufti Bashir-ud-Din issued a fatwa.

 

“All bad things happening in the Indian society are because of music… They (girls) should stop…”

 

Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, however, told CNN-IBN on Monday that the decision to continue rested with the band alone.

 

“The state will provide security,” he said.

 

2.

Incident : Maoists ban music systems during marriage celebrations

Date : Jan 29, 2013

Place : Ranchi, Jharkhand

 

The People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter outfit of the CPI(Maoist), has imposed a ban on the use of music systems during marriage functions to protect tribal culture and traditional instruments.

 

Claiming that the ban has the support of Zila Radhi Pahda Samiti, a tribal organization, the outfit said people are not engaging traditional drummers and flute players during marriage functions because of the use of the sound systems and they deprive local artists of their profession and pose a threat to their instruments.

 

Police said PLFI rebels recently put up posters at various places and burnt a sound system at a marriage in Bhandra area, around 150km from here, in Lohardaga district. The posters warned that modern musical systems would be burnt down and the users would have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.

 

3.

Incident: Bombay HC grants bail to cultural activists

Date: Feb 2, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Raising issues like “social inequality” is not banned and hence is not punishable, the Bombay High Court observed while granting bail to four alleged Maoists.

 

“The interest taken by the applicants and their attempts to create social awareness is commendable,” observed Justice Abhay Thipsay while passing the judgment last Thursday. “How can their highlighting wrongs in society and insisting on the need for change be considered evidence of belonging to a terrorist organisation?”

 

Three accused – Dhawala Dhengale, Mayuri Bhagat and Anuradha Sonule – were allegedly associated with the Kabir Kala Manch, which held street plays on “social inequalities.” The fourth accused, Siddharth Bhosale, is alleged to be an important activist of the Maoists from whom provocative literature was seized.

 

Taking the State to task, the HC said, “It is surprising that the State should consider these activities as incriminating material. Speaking about corruption, social inequality, etc and seeking a better society is not banned.”

 

4.

Incident : Artistes court arrest, protest silencing of dissent

Date: April 4, 2013

Place : Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Two activists from the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch handed themselves over to the police to face the law after they were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA two years ago. Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali were taken away by the police after they arrived at the gates of the Maharashtra assembly on Tuesday morning.

 

The duo read out a statement clarifying their actions before they were taken away. “This is not a surrender and they have faith in the courts and the democratic process and they hope for justice,” they told reporters.

 

5.

Incident: ULFA hawks ban Hindi film music during ‘Bihu’

Date: April 11, 2013

Place: Guwahati, Assam

 

Myanmar-based ULFA hardliners led by Paresh Baruah have issued a diktat to artistes of the state to refrain from singing Hindi songs while performing during the rongali bihu celebrations that kick off from April 14 and stretch for more than a month.

 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the outfit stated that it will keep a close watch on all Bihu functions in the state and should any artiste sing a Hindi song, its cadres will raise protests at the function.

 

6.

Incident: Singer defies ULFA diktat, sings Hindi songs

Date: April 19, 2013

Place: Guwahati, Assam

 

The Paresh Barua faction of ULFA on Thursday issued a statement warning popular singer and musician Zubeen Garg, 41, of dire consequences after he defied the outfit’s diktat and performed in Bihu Sanmilani function at Guwahati on Wednesday evening.

 

Seven days ago they had issued a ban on performing Hindi songs during Rongali Bihu, the Assamese New Year Festival. However, the artiste, a heart-throb of the Assamese people, said no force on earth can stop him from singing. Garg said he would sing more Hindi songs on Thursday night too. “I don’t care. No power can dictate an artiste. We have our own freedom. This is nothing new for me. The ULFA had banned me in the 1990s too. I have earned nationwide fame singing Hindi songs. It is our national language. Who are they to say Hindi songs will destroy Assamese culture. It is an outdated and ridiculous idea,” Garg said.

 

After the outfit’s diktat, other artistes had avoided singing Hindi songs with the exception of Garg. “While all other artistes heeded to our appeal, Zubeen Garg has willfully defied it. He is an agent of Hindi aggression on Assam. We will resist his singing Hindi songs. And if that leads to any conflict then we should not be held responsible,” a statement issued by ULFA’s media wing said.

 

Hours later, Garg said at a press meet, “Bihu is a festival that has no boundaries. It is not just the Assamese-speaking people who observe Bihu. Who are they to dictate terms and direct us? Paresh Barua should review his stand.

 

Literature, Education

1.

Incident : Rushdie ‘banished’ from Kolkata

Date : Jan 31, 2013

Place : Kolkata, West Bengal

 

Author Salman Rushdie’s visit to Calcutta was called off at the last minute because of objections raised by the state government and an ultimatum issued by police. The author was invited to attend a session already scheduled with the film team of Midnight’s Children at the Kolkata Literary Meet (KLM), which is being held on the Calcutta book fair premises.

 

However, police and a senior minister in the Trinamool Congress cabinet began calling up the organisers to dissuade Rushdie from coming to the city, sources said. Police said they had no idea if any protests were being planned.

 

2.

Incident: ‘Inflammatory’ poem by copy: inquiry ordered

Date: Jan 14, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

The Mumbai Police has initiated an inquiry into an inspector’s poem that called the August 11, 2013, Azad Maidan rioters ‘traitors’ and ‘snakes’ and suggested that they should have been shot and their hands chopped off. The piece was published in the force’s monthly newsletter Samvaad. According to senior officers, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh will be heading the inquiry.

 

The poem was authored by inspector Sujata Patil, attached to Matunga traffic police, and she will be questioned by the inquiry committee. Patil could not be reached for comment.

 

Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) Hemant Nagrale, the publisher and chief editor of Samvaad, said, “I have said whatever I had to and the rest is up to the inquiry committee. I can’t disclose the members on the inquiry team.”

 

Nagrale said Patil did not intend to write the poem to offend anyone and that the next issue of the bulletin will be carrying her apology. The bulletin is internally circulated across police stations and special units in the city, and usually carries literary pieces as well as write-ups and photographs highlighting the achievements of policemen and their family members.

 

3.

 

Incident: NCERT drops ‘objectionable’ references in history textbooks

Date: May 28, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

In a significant sanitization exercise, the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has made changes in its history textbooks dropping “objectionable” references to the Nadar community, depiction of angels in human form and introducing more sensitive coinages to caste to smoothen ruffled feathers of political leaders. The changes have been made in history books of class VIII, IX, XI and XII that will be used in this academic session.

 

While the Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Mosque, Mohd Mukarram Ahmed among other members of the community had objected to the depiction two visuals of angels and use of the word ‘ghawz’ in the class XI history textbook, Tamil leaders, including CM J Jayalalithaa, DMK and others, had sought to remove references to the Nadar community as toddy-tappers and lower castes in the class IX history book. Demands to describe poet Mirabai as a saint instead of a wandering singer have also been acceded to. Other changes include referring to lower castes as subordinate castes and upper caste as dominant caste while dropping the mention of a lower caste in reference to social reformer Sree Narayana Guru revered in Kerala for speaking against the inequalities of the caste system.

 

“While there is no question that textbooks must constantly be evolving, the knee-jerk reaction to drop passages or text on political demands is disconcerting and undermines academic work,” a senior academic said.

 

4.

Incident: TN bans book on Pallar community

Date: June 19, 2013

Place: Madurai, Tamil Nadu

 

A book written by an author belonging to the Pallar community, one of the Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu, claiming that Pallars are the original settlers of fertile river tracts in Tamil land, and southern Tamil Nadu’s rulers, has been banned by the State government.

 

Written by K.Senthil Mallar, the 624-page yet to be released book titled Meendezhum Pandiyar Varalaru (Resurgence of Pandiyar History) is an attempt towards caste identity construction and antiquity that the Pallars were rulers of Tamil land but enslaved by invaders during the 17th century.

 

5.

 

Incident: Controversial poem dropped from Kerala undergrad syllabus

Date: July 25, 2013

Place: Kozhikode, Kerala

 

Following protests, a poem written by an alleged Al Qaeda leader was withdrawn temporarily from the syllabus for undergraduates in Kerala’s Calicut University, an official said Thursday.

 

The poem, ‘Ode to the Sea’, written by Ibrahim al-Rubaish, a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay camp of the US, was part of the text ‘Literature and Contemporary Issue Studies’ for third semester BA and BSc students.

 

6.

Incident: Author of Kannada novel Dhundi arrested

Date: Aug 31, 2013

Place: Bangalore, Karnataka

Author of the controversial Kannada novel ‘Dhundi’, Yogesh Master, was arrested on Thursday evening after many Hindu outfits objected to the portrayal of the god Ganesh in the work.

 

A complaint was lodged by Pranavananda Swami and some Hindu outfits had threatened to launch protests demanding withdrawal of the book which was released on August 21. Protesters had objected to the book as they said it contained that they called “objectionable material”.

 

A senior police official said that the cases had been booked two days before the arrest. The author was booked under sections 295 A IPC (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 IPC (Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feeling).

 

In the meanwhile, writers and intellectuals have strongly condemned the arrest of Yogesh Master and demanded his immediate release.

 

7.

Incident: Protest meeting against writer called off

Date: Oct 8, 2013

Place: Santika village, Balangir, Odisha

Amid police deployment, the village meeting, where a local writer and this year’s Sahitya Akademi awardee had been asked to apologise, was cancelled on Sunday.

 

The writer, Khetrabasi Naik of Santika village in the district, bagged the Central Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar this year for his short story collection ‘Dadan’.

 

The book, which narrates the pathos and pain of migrant labourers of the district, was published in 2011.

 

After declaration of the award, Kalakanhu Sahu and Mukhi Seth of the same village filed an FIR at Loisingha police station alleging that the story Dadan-2 of the book is not based on facts. They said the character Ganesh in the story was not a migrant labourer. Due to the story, Sahu family was feeling ashamed, they added.

 

After the FIR was filed, Loisingha IIC called the writer and complainants and directed to hold a village meeting on October 6 where the writer would apologise and his book will be burnt.

 

When the news spread, the police step was flayed by writers and members of Odisha advisory committee of Central Sahitya Akademi. As damage control, Balangir SP R Prakash assured Khetrabasi that no such meeting will take place and police would intervene to avoid any untoward incident in the village. Following this, the village meeting was cancelled and Balangir SDPO Narayan Naik and Loisingha IIC Narendra Swain camped at Santika village on Sunday.

 

Talking to mediapersons, Khetrabasi said he has written the story based on the migration problems of his district. All the characters are fictitious.

 

Privacy and Surveillance

 

1.

Incident: Case against Zee News for revealing Delhi gangrape victim’s identity

Date: Jan 5, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

A case was filed against Zee News channel Friday for revealing the identity of the Dec 16 rape victim by carrying an interview of her friend, police said.

 

“A case under Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code was filed against Zee News at police station Vasant Vihar,” said Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. Section 228A (Disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences etc) lays penalty of a jail term extending to two years for those who “prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity” of any rape victim.

 

The channel had Friday telecast the first-ever interview of the friend of the 23-year-old physiotherapist trainee. The channel also identified him.

 

2.

Incident: Police to monitor you on social media

Date: Jan 18, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Your will all be monitored by big brother who can, if he deems inappropriate, block them. The Mumbai police crime branch is setting up a ‘social networking site monitoring cell’ to monitor and block Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts and YouTube videos that are deemed inappropriate.

 

“The cell, which will monitor social media real time to prevent any law and order situation, will be set up in a couple of months,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime).

 

In March, the Mumbai police inaugurated its Social Media Lab (SML) which has been formed with “a view to keeping tabs on social media to be better informed about current public opinion”. The first of its kind in the country, the SML is aimed at better intelligence gathering as social media are today the fastest form of media, the officials said. The lab, which consists of 20 specially trained policemen, will work in shifts and will scroll through the content that appears on social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

3.

 

Incident: Cop held for trying to access Jaitley’s call records

Date: Feb 19, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

A Delhi Police constable who has been arrested for allegedly attempting to obtain Call Details Record (CDR) of Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley’s mobile phone had purportedly made an oral agreement with a private detective to procure call records of his clients through the official channel for a consideration of Rs.1,500 per head. The private detective has also been arrested.

 

Constable Arvind Dabas’s associate has been identified as Neeraj Nayyar, who runs a private detective agency and had been operating in collaboration with the tainted policeman for the past eight months.

 

4.

Incident: Chinese messaging co ‘WeChat’ under security scanner

Date: June 18, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Intelligence Bureau has raised security concerns against Chinese messaging platform WeChat, which launched its India operations recently.

 

The intelligence agency has told the National Security Advisor that such messaging platforms were raising new cyber threats.

 

Top Government source said that the matter will be investigated by the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Department of Telecom before taking a call on whether or not to block access to such services.

 

Like WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger, WeChat is also a messaging platform that uses the Internet to allow users to exchange text or voice messages. The security agencies had earlier raised concerns over BlackBerry Messenger, which has since been resolved after the Canadian company agreed to set up a server in Mumbai.

 

The security agencies have been given access to data flowing through the BlackBerry Messenger platform.

 

But in the case of WeChat, the security agencies are more worried because it is a Chinese company. Earlier the Department of Telecom had come close to banning Chinese telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE over similar concerns.

 

5.

Incident: CMS : govt can monitor all social media conversations

Date: May 7, 2013

Place: Bangalore/Delhi

The government last month quietly began rolling out a project that gives it access to everything that happens over India’s telecommunications network—online activities, phone calls, text messages and even social media conversations. Called the Central Monitoring System, it will be the single window from where government arms such as the National Investigation Agency or the tax authorities will be able to monitor every byte of communication.

 

In December 2012, the then information technology minister Milind Deora told Parliament that the monitoring system, on which the government is spending Rs 400 crore, will “lawfully intercept Internet and telephone services”.

 

Work on the system has been kept under wraps for nearly two years. Several government agencies have issued tenders seeking specialised equipment and systems for such monitoring.

 

6.

Incident: Microsoft admits revealing subscriber data to govt

Date: Mar 22, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

Microsoft revealed on Friday that it had received over 400 requests for disclosure of nearly 600 users and accounts from the Indian government in 2012. Out of these requests, Microsoft complied with as many as 370 (or 88.5%) requests that resulted in a disclosure of subscriber/transactional data. However, the company said it did not comply with any request that would have resulted in disclosure of exact content.

 

This is the first time Microsoft is revealing such information, and plans on doing on it through a continuous basis through what it calls its ‘Law Enforcement Requests Report’.

 

“We believe we have a responsibility to respect human rights and the principles of free expression and privacy. As part of this, we are providing information on law enforcement requests we receive for customer data,” the company said on its website.

 

In the report, the company points out that the content that was disclosed could include the subject or body of an e-mail, photos stored in SkyDrive, address book information and calendars. Non-content information, which was mainly shared with the Indian Government, could include the user’s name, billing address and IP history among others.

 

With regard to requests for Skype user information, Microsoft received a total of 53 requests for disclosure of 101 accounts for the year 2012—however; none of these requests were complied with.

 

The report that mentions that all of its online services were included in this report such as Hotmail, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Microsoft Account and Office 365.

 

7.

Incident: Govt. Blackberry, end dispute over interception of BB devices

Date: July 10, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

A Blackberry spokesperson said the company had delivered a solution that enabled India’s wireless carriers to address their lawful access requirements for its consumer messaging services, which include BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) email. “The lawful access capability now available to BlackBerry’s carrier partners meets the standard required by the Government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace. We also wish to underscore, once again, that this enablement of lawful access does not extend to BlackBerry Enterprise Server,” said the spokesperson.

 

The DoT internal note said nine of 10 telecom service providers providing BlackBerry services were in the process of deploying interception solution.

 

 

8.

Incident: India seeks info from Twitter on user accounts

Date: Aug 1, 2013

Place: San Franciso/New Delhi

 

Twitter is under increasing pressure from governments around the world to release user’s private information, with requests rising 40% in the first six months of the year, the microblogging company said on Wednesday in its semi-annual transparency report.

 

India made 50% requests during the six-month period where some or all of the content was withheld, according to the San Francisco-based company’s report.

 

09.

Incident: US snoop programme has key server located in India

Date: Aug 2, 2013

Place: London/New Delhi

 

A controversial US surveillance programme that sweeps internet usage data had 700 snooping servers installed at 150 locations around the world, including one in India, according to a report.

 

The XKeyscore programme, run by the National Security Agency (NSA), allowed analysts to search through vast databases containing e-mails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of individuals, Guardian reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

 

A February 2008 training material presentation for the XKeyscore programme included a map of locations of the surveillance servers, one of which appeared to be near New Delhi, according to the the paper’s report.

 

The NSA said XKeyscore is its “widest reaching” system to develop intelligence from computer networks, Guardian said. The presentation claimed the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet,” including the content of e-mails, websites visited and searches.

 

US companies IBM, HP and Dell dominate the Indian server market, according to market research and analyst firm IDC. No Indian company makes computer or electronic chips that are key components of servers.

 

10.

Incident: Gujarat CM snooping: Modi govt sets up inquiry

Date: Nov 26, 2013

Place: Gandhinagar

 

Under fire for using the state machinery to illegally snoop on a woman, the Gujarat government formed a two-member commission of inquiry to investigate the charge on Monday. The snooping was allegedly supervised in 2009 by then junior home minister Amit Shah at the behest of his ‘saheb’.

 

The two-member commission includes retired Gujarat high court judge, Justice Sugunaben Bhatt, and retired bureaucrat KC Kapoor. “The commission has been asked to submit its report within three months,” said government spokesman and cabinet minister Nitin Patel. However, he did not clarify the terms of reference of the inquiry.

 

Defamation

 

1.

Incident: Defamation case against Shinde for ‘hindu terror’ remarks

Date: January 23, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

A defamation case has been filed against Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in a Delhi Court for his remarks linking BJP and RSS to Hindu terrorism.

 

The petition, filed by a Delhi resident V P Kumar through his counsel Monika Arora, said that the Home Minister had “willfully” made the “derogatory” remarks to cause ill will and hatred among communities. Addressing the AICC meeting at Jaipur on Sunday, Shinde had said, “…We have got an investigation report that be it RSS or BJP, their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism. We are keeping a strict vigil on all this”.

 

2.

Incident: Indian publisher sues US blogger

Date: June 3, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

Hyderabad-based technical publishing and events firm OMICS Publishing Group has moved to sue a Colorado University faculty member seeking damages worth $1 billion (Rs 5,400 crore) after his blog posts questioned the credentials of its scientific publications.

 

OMICS issued a formal legal notice for a possible libel suit earlier this week after Jeffrey Beall’s several references to the Indian company in his popular blog “Scholarly Open Access” of questionable conduct involving alleged “predatory publishing practices” in the form of charges levied on unsuspecting young researchers keen to get their papers published.

 

3.

Incident: Kejriwal refuses to seek bail in defamation case

Date: June 6, 2013

Place: New Delhi,

 

Aam Admi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday refused to seek bail in a defamation case filed against him by the political secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for his alleged “derogatory remarks” against power tariff hike protests.

 

Standing firm in the court on not seeking bail, Kejriwal also refused to furnish a personal or surety bond, saying he had been following the same principle in other cases lodged against him.

 

After Kejriwal refused to seek bail and furnish any personal or surety bond, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sanjay Bansal released him on an undertaking that he would appear on every date of hearing.

 

Dikshit’s political secretary Pawan Khera had filed a defamation case against Kejriwal for allegedly making “derogatory remarks” and “baseless” allegations against her last year during protests on power tariff hike.

 

4.

Incident: Bombay HC directs magistrate to hear ‘defamation’ case against ‘Saamna’

Date: Oct 8, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

The Bombay high court on Monday directed a magistrate court to hear and decide the defamation case filed by Congress leader Narayan Rane against Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna‘ and its editor Sanjay Raut within a month.

 

Justice ML Tahaliyani was hearing a petition filed by Raut and the paper seeking quashing of the proceedings initiated against them by the magistrate in Kankavli area of Ratnagiri district.

 

Raut’s lawyer argued that Rane never appears in the magistrate court and seeks exemptions and adjournments due to which the case has dragged on for seven years.

 

Hate Speech

1.

Incident: Owaisi arrested for hate speech

Date: Jan 9, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

Hyderabad MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi was arrested on a charge of hate speech, ten days after a case was lodged against him. Owaisi is the brother of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asauddin Owaisi. On December 24, 2012, the MLA was addressing a public meeting in Nirmal town of Adilabad district of Andhra and allegedly used inflammatory and derogatory words against Hindu gods.

 

Akbaruddin has been charged under sections 121 (waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting the waging of war, against the Government of India) and 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for his December 22 speech in Nirmal town. Both the sections are non-bailable. If proven guilty, under section 121 of IPC, an accused would either get death penalty or life sentence along with fine. These sections are usually booked against terrorists and militants, who either plan or execute terror strikes in the country.

 

In his almost two-hour long speech, the MLA, who spoke on a number of issues including Babri demolition and Narendra Modi, tried to instigate the crowd by calling for a ‘test of strength’ against the majority community.

 

Akbaruddin’s elder brother Asaduddin Owaisi represents Hyderabad in the Lok Sabha. Since it parted ways with the ruling Congress in the southern state in November, MIM is trying to expand base by asserting its religious identity aggressively. The Nirmal meeting was a part of the exercise.

 

2.

Incident: FIR against rapper Honey Singh

Date: Jan 2, 2013

Place: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

 

An FIR was lodged on Monday against rapper Honey Singh for offensive lyrics in some of his songs. Gomti Nagar police lodged the FIR on the complaint of IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, police sources said here.

 

3.

Incident: Case against Ram Jethmalani for remarks on ‘Ram’

Date: Jan 17, 2013

Place: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

 

Acting on a court order, the police lodged a case against suspended BJP MP Ram Jethmalani for his controversial remarks on Lord Rama during a function in Delhi on November 8.

 

On a petition filed by lawyer Mohammed Saleem, the court in Medchal had yesterday asked the police to investigate the matter and lodged an FIR.

 

Accordingly, a case was registered under Section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language etc) and other relevant sections of IPC, police said.

 

Speaking at a book launch function in Delhi on November 8, Jethmalani had termed Lord Ram as a “bad husband”.

 

4.

Incident: Case against Ashish Nandy over corruption comment

Date: Jan 28, 2013

Place: Jaipur, Rajasthan

 

A case has been registered against author Ashish Nandy in Jaipur for his statement about scheduled castes and corruption.

 

The case, registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a police official said, adding that it was a non bailable offence and the author faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

 

The author issued a clarification after the outcry over his statements while part of a panel in the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

 

“This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say. This was what I actually said: I endorsed the statement of Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal that corruption in India is an equaliser in our society. I do believe that zero corruption society in India, as I gave the example of Singapore, will be a despotic society,” Nandy said in his clarification statement.

 

He maintained that he has spoken in favour of the down-trodden in the session on ‘Republic of Ideas’ at the Jaipur Literature Festival. “I said in the talk that people like me… want to be corrupt, we can possibly send son to Harvard…. It will look like we are supporting talent. It won’t look corruption.

 

“But when Dalits, tribals and OBC are corrupt, it looks very corrupt indeed. However this second corruption equlalises,” he said, adding “It gives them access to entitlements. And as long as this equation persists, I have hope for the republic (of India).”

 

He said he was sorry “if some have misunderstood (his comments). I am sorry if anyone is genuinely hurt because of misunderstanding.” However, he didn’t apologise for his statement, saying he has supported the communities all his life. “I don’t apologise at all because I was actually supporting the cause of minorities and oppressed people. I have supported them all my life.” As should be clear from my statement, there was neither any intention nor any attempt to hurt any community, he said.

 

5.

Incident: Varun Gandhi acquitted in hate speech cases

Date: Feb 27 and Mar 5, 2013

Place: Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh

 

Varun Gandhi was acquitted in both cases lodged against him for making hate speeches while campaigning in his constituency of Pilibhit in 2009 for the national elections.

 

The order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Abdul Quayyum here.

 

51 witnesses called by the prosecution did not give any evidence or statement that implicated Mr Gandhi. Because the second case includes the same witnesses, legal experts anticipate another acquittal.

 

The investigation was handled by the Uttar Pradesh police.

 

A local activist named Abdul Qayoom alleged in court today that Mr Gandhi tried to subvert the investigation by not sharing his voice sample. He also said that witnesses were questioned in a hurry, and that news channels were not asked to furnish copies of the speeches, which compromised the probe. The activist wanted the court to order a deeper investigation, but his request was turned down.

 

6.

Incident: PIL to curb hate speech

Date: April 9, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking direction to frame guidelines to curb hate speeches made by politicians and others, claiming that it was violative of statute as well as the Constitution.

 

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also sought response from the Election Commission and state governments of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh on the petition filed by NGO Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan.

 

Senior advocate Basava P Patil, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that different political leaders made hate speeches, sullying the harmonious atmosphere and stoking regional, religious and ethnic tensions. He pointed out that even after their arrest such leaders did not mend their acts and instead repeated their vitriolic words on being granted bail.

7.

Incident: Karnataka govt issues FIR against Maharashtra Home minister

Date: April 11, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

The Karnataka government has issued an order to arrest Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil for creating enmity between people of the two states through an alleged hate speech delivered in Belgaum on April 7.

 

An FIR has been registered at Market Police Station in Belgaum under IPC section 153-A and Patil has been charged with promoting enmity between groups of different religions, races, places of birth, residences, languages, etc.

 

Karnataka and Maharashtra have a long-standing dispute over 857 border villages.

 

8.

Incident: Hate speech case against Karnataka Dy CM

Date: April 17, 2013

Place: Shimoga, Karnataka

 

Days after making an alleged “hate speech” against a minority community, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa was slapped with a criminal case on Friday after electoral officials issued directions for it.

 

The case was registered and an FIR filed as per the directions of chief of Flying Squad of poll code enforcement for the May five Assembly elections at the order of Deputy Commissioner and District Electoral Officer Vipul Bansal.

 

Cases under IPC sections as also under Representation of People Act have been booked after the squad submitted the video recording of Mr. Eswarappa’s speech at a conference on Sunday, police said.

 

9.

Incident: Former minister Ramadoss arrested: hate speech case

Date: May 3, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

Former union minister and PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss was arrested by Tamil Nadu police in connection with an alleged hate speech case relating to a public meeting he addressed last year. Ramadoss said the arrest was an act of political vendetta.

 

10.

Incident: Two Sena members convicted for hate speech

Date: May 4, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Ex-Shiv Sena corporator Jaywant Parab and former Sena up-vibhag pramukh Ashok Shinde were on Saturday sentenced to two months in jail for hate speech during the 92-93 Mumbai riots.

 

Additional Sessions Judge Dilip Murumkar upheld the 2008 conviction of Parab and Shinde by a trial court under section 153A read with 149 (promoting communal enmity) of the Indian Penal Code.

 

11.

Incident: Delhi HC notice to Raj Thackeray

Date: Nov 23, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to MNS chief Raj Thackeray in connection with police complaints over his alleged hate speeches against people from Bihar.

 

The court sought Thackeray’s response to a plea challenging his move to seek quashing of the police complaints filed against him in 2008.

 

The matter will be heard on December 4. Petitioner Sudhir Kumar has objected to Thackeray’s attempts to seek quashing of hate-speech cases against him, saying his pleas were “not maintainable”.

 

Advocate Anup Kumar Sinha, appearing for petitioner, told the court that the Jharkhand High Court had in May 2008 dismissed Thackeray’s plea. In July 2008, the Supreme Court upheld that order.

 

Government policy, Law, Judiciary

 

1.

Incident: Govt can’t blackmail media with advertisements

Date: Feb 5, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, on Monday took up a practice that has become quite common with the central and state governments – of stopping advertisements to newspapers and magazines that have published news articles that were critical of them. Describing the practice as “undemocratic” and betraying a “pettiness of mind”, Katju threatened to take legal action if such cases came to the notice of the Council.

 

He urged governments, statutory bodies and public sector undertakings to stop or reduce advertisements only after giving an opportunity to the newspaper or journal to be heard. “Stopping advertisements or drastically reducing them merely because a critical article has been published, is totally is totally unacceptable in a democracy,” he said, adding that this was an infringement on freedom of speech.

 

2.

Incident: I & B ministry sets up panel to examine filmcertification

Date: Feb 5 & Oct 9, 2013

Place: New Delhi

 

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) set up a panel to examine issues regarding certification under the Cinematograph Act. The decision comes in backdrop of the recent controversies over Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam despite being cleared by the Censor Board.

 

The committee was chaired by retired Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal. The committee’s brief was to suggest measures to equip the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to deal with the increasing number of contemporary requirements of certification and increase in its transparency and efficiency, a Ministry statement said.

 

 

In its report, the Mudgal Committee proposed a model Cinematograph Bill, in a report submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

 

In a statement, the I&B Ministry said the committee had made recommendations on issues such as “advisory panels; guidelines for certification and issues such as portrayal of women, obscenity, and communal disharmony; classification of films; treatment of piracy; and jurisdiction of the appellate tribunal.”

 

3.

Incident: Sec 66 (a) of IT Act challenged

Date: Mar 1, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

The Bombay High Court Wednesday asked the Maharashtra Government and the Centre to file reply to a petition challenging the validity of Section 66A of Information and Technology (IT) Act, which penalises sending of “false and offensive” messages through a computer or a communication device.

 

The direction by Justices P V Hardas and A M Thipsay came on a PIL which contends that the section would not apply if the message is in the public domain, such as the social networking sites, or a blog, or a website. The court has sought replies within four weeks.

 

The petition has been filed by Majoj Oswal of the NGO ‘People for Animals’ (headed by BJP MP Maneka Gandhi). He contends that section 66A is unconstitutional, and arrests under the same be stayed while the petition is being heard. It can also be misused against the media as almost all the TV channels and newspapers are available over the Internet, the petitioner points out.

 

4.

Incident: SC: no arrests for social media posts without permission

Date: May 18, 2013

Place: Delhi

 

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that no person should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials.

 

The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s January 9 advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.

 

“We direct the state governments to ensure compliance with the guidelines (issued by Centre) before making any arrest,” a bench of justices B.S.Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.

 

5.

Incident: Mouthshut.com case against IT Act

Date: May 9, 2013

Place: Mumbai/Delhi

 

MouthShut.com, India’s leading online community for consumer reviews, filed a writ petition under article 32 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court, inter-alia for quashing the Information Technology Rules (Intermediaries Guidelines) 2011 and declaring them violative of articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

 

MouthShut.com provides consumers the platform to write reviews on any product or service offered in India and is recognized as a trusted destination for consumers who wish to better inform themselves before making purchasing decisions.

 

The petition pleaded that the IT Rules 2011 should be struck down because they are so vague that it cannot be predicted with certainty as to what is prohibited and what is permitted. A consequence of this law would be the delegation of essential executive function to private entity like MouthShut.com to censor and restrict free speech of citizens or else face legal challenge for user’s content.

 

6.

Incident: Indian govt denies visa to Sri Lankan war documentary film-maker

Date: Nov 11, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

India has denied a visa to Callum Macrae, the director of a documentary that exposed war crimes in Sri Lanka.

 

Macrae, whose team was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year, made news again last Thursday when UK’s Channel 4 telecast footage acquired from him showing LTTE TV anchor-actor Isai Priya’s capture during the last phase of the Lankan war. Priya was found dead on May 18, 2009, with visible marks of torture. The video was telecast worldwide and caused an uproar that cast a shadow on the Colombo Commonwealth summit mid-November.

 

7.

Incident: Intel chief : bring FB, Twitter under Indian law

Date: Nov 23, 2013

Place: New Delhi:

 

A recommendation was made to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today for bringing foreign content-providers like Facebook and Twitter under Indian laws as is the case in several other countries.

 

Director of Intelligence Bureau, Asif Ibrahim, conveyed this on the concluding day of the annual conference of Directors General and Inspectors General of Police in his address to welcome the Prime Minister.

 

Outlining the deliberations in the last two days, Mr Ibrahim said there was a special discussion on the vulnerabilities and steps needed to be taken in order to overcome the challenges in cyber space which include constant upgradation of technology through in-house efforts.

 

Legislative privileges

1.

Incident: House out to gag media

Date: Mar 22, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Maharashtra legislators moved a privilege motions against editors of news channels for coverage of the attack on PSI Sachin Suryavanshi.

 

MLCs turned their ire on the media as MLC Bhai Jagtap moved a privilege motion against editors — Nikhil Wagle of IBN Lokmat and Rajeev Khandekar of ABP Mazha — for maligning the image of public representatives. He said the two had called legislators names like mavali, goonda (goons). Jagtap said that the journalists even alleged that there was a conspiracy by the CM to ensure that the MLAs were not arrested and pointed out that everybody had condemned Suryavanshi’s assault.

 

In the assembly, speaker Dilip Valse Patil said there was suspicion in his mind on whether there was a “conspiracy” to intentionally arrest the legislators before television cameras and defame politicians instead of arresting or detaining them elsewhere.

 

 

Sedition/security acts

 

1.

Incident: Lawyer, client, charged with sedition walk free

Date: June 28, 2013

Place: Raipur, Chhattisgarh

 

Rekha Parghaniya – a lawyer and a human rights activist from central Chhattisgarh, who was arrested and charged with sedition and put in the same prison with her client, Rashmi Verma, were acquitted on all charges after main witnesses failed to turn up to give evidence.

 

Ms. Parghaniya was defending Ms. Verma and her husband Bhola Bag, a contractual worker, who was booked with sedition as well. All three of them were also charged under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA) for allegedly abetting the outlawed CPI-Maoist. They were acquitted by the district court of Durg on Wednesday.

 

“What triggered the arrest of Ms. Parghaniya was the arrest of her husband in Kolkata,” said one of her lawyers, Sadiq Ali. Ms. Parghaniya’s husband, Deepak, was arrested in Kolkata earlier in 2012 for allegedly helping a unit of the Maoists to manufacture small arms. Maoist Central Committee did acknowledge Mr. Parghaniya as one of their “comrades” in a release issued on March 2, 2012. “Ms. Parghaniya was arrested just for being the wife of Mr. Parghaniya whom she last met several years ago,” said Mr. Ali.

 

The judgment said that the evidences were not sufficient to convict Mr. Bag and Ms. Verma. Ms. Parghaniya was acquitted as the two main witnesses were not present during the seizure, which was the important evidence against her. “Even the investigating officer said there were hardly any incriminating documents, other than few leftist magazines,” said Mr. Ali.

 

2.

Incident: Map goof: Maharashra govt to file sedition case

Date: July 26, 2013

Place: Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Pushed by legislators cutting across party lines to slap sedition charges on those behind errors in Class X geography textbook, the Maharashtra government agreed to file an FIR.

 

The opposition and ruling coalition MLAs took a strong stand in the assembly on Arunachal Pradesh missing from a map of India that made it seem like the state was on Chinese territory. The issue ballooned as China has repeatedly claimed Arunachal as its part. TOI was the first to report about the mistake in the text books.

 

Incident: Conservationist detained under NSA for holding tiger conservation seminars

Date: Aug 16, 2013

Place: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

 

A Manuvel, barely 27, is already considered ‘dangerous’ to national security as the police have locked him under the National Security Act after he held a seminar on the tiger reserve project in Sathyamangalam.

 

Even as the social networking sites across the country are hotly debating his detention in the Coimbatore jail since the last two months, the NSA board heard his defense last week and is expected to pronounce verdict shortly.

 

“Manuvel fought for the rights of the tribals of Sathyamangalam, who could be evicted by the tiger reserve project”, said his wife Agarathi, an advocate practising at Madurai. “He circulated pamphlets and talked about the struggle led by tribals in north India for winning their rights. For this, he was arrested and detained under the NSA quoting nine old cases filed against him for agitating for public causes during his student days at the Madurai law college during 2007-10”.

 

The NSA is usually resorted to by the police to detain up to a year an anti-social/anti-national posing threat to national security and social order. Activists however complain that the Act has been often used to curb the freedom of social campaigners to agitate about public issues.

 

According to Agarathi, her husband moved the Madras high court seeking permission to hold his tiger seminars and even got a favourable order. “But before the hard copy of the judgement could reach him, the local police arrested him citing threat to the security of the State”, she said.

 

 

 

Contempt

1.

Incident: Ratan Tata seeks contempt of court against Indian Express

Date: Aug 23, 2013

Place: New Delhi

New Delhi: A lawyer for Ratan Tata has demanded the Supreme Court issue a notice for “criminal contempt” against The Indian Express for publishing on 10 August contents of a confidential report prepared by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Terming the incident as “theft of court property”, Harish Salve, Tata’s counsel, sought immediate investigation in the matter and prosecution of those found guilty.

 

The Indian Express’s legal counsel declined comment, saying “it would be inappropriate to comment on any matter which is under consideration before the court”.

 

The Supreme Court had earlier directed that the tapes containing over 5,000 hours of conversations of Niira Radia with businessmen and politicians be reviewed by CBI for elements of criminality. The report, prepared by a special five-member committee of the federal investigative agency, detailed the issues that required further investigation. “We felt if there is criminality involved, causing loss to public exchequer, it must be looked into,” said justice G.S. Singhvi, heading the two-judge bench hearing the case.

 

Parts of this report prepared by CBI and submitted to the court were published by the newspaper even before the court took up the matter.

 

The court noted that the report had been in possession of selected individuals only, including some in CBI, and yet its contents found their way into a media report. Referring to the documents in the case, justice Singhvi said they had been “opened only in court. All (documents) were in sealed envelope”.

 

Salve said that a criminal investigation was required and an in-house process would not suffice. Public officials had been entrusted with the documents by virtue of their position and the Official Secrets Act had been violated, he said.

 

2.

Incident: Gujarat HC rejects contempt plea against Jaitley

Date: Sept 7, 2013

Place: Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court today refused to initiate contempt of court action against the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley over his blog-post on alleged misuse of CBI by the UPA government in Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

 

The division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari, while disposing of the petition, observed that every citizen enjoys the fundamental right to express opinion.

 

“Expressing his or her opinion, in this case, even though a blog does not constitute contempt of court as every citizen enjoys freedom of expression,” said the bench.

 

Advocate Mukul Sinha, the petitioner, had contended that Jaitley’s statements undermined the CBI investigation in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

 

The senior BJP leader’s blog-post tended “to interfere with the administration of justice” as it was written while the Ishrat case was under judicial scrutiny, he had argued.

 

Jaitley, himself a noted lawyer, posted an article on his blog on June 3, titled ‘Should CBI uncover the IB’. The CBI, in most cases from Gujarat, was guided by disgruntled group of state policemen accused of indiscipline by the state government, he wrote.

 

Sinha said that this was tantamount to ridiculing the Gujarat High Court, which was monitoring the probe by CBI.

 

Mumbai-based girl Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana were killed by the Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in June 2004. According to CBI, this was a fake encounter, staged by police and some IB officials.

 

 

 

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