INDIAN CULTURAL FORUM

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the FIRs filed against The Wire’s Founding Editor Siddharth Varadarajan by the police in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate the media and muzzle its freedom.

The Wire has been accused of causing panic when it reported that the UP CM Adityanath, attended a public religious event on 25 March at Ayodhya, despite the countrywide lockdown. The Wire has responded that the Chief Minister’s attendance of this event is a matter of public record and knowledge. Hence, the IPC provisions on “disobedience of an order issued by a public servant” and issuing “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes” mentioned in the FIRs do not apply. 

A sentence in an article published by The Wire on 31 March mistakenly attributed the claim that Lord Ram would protect his devotees from the Corona virus to CM Adityanath, a remark actually made by Acharya Paramhans. This was retracted the following day by the website and the necessary correction made.

Mritunjay Kumar, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, had earlier taunted Vardarajan in a tweet, saying, “Along with running the website, [you] will have to seek donations to fight the case.”

This is gross intolerance of criticism, essential for independent media to function in a democracy. This is why we strongly condemn the FIR filed against our colleague Siddharth Varadarajan as politically motivated, and call on all citizens of conscience to insist on our right to a free and independent media.

Read the statement in Hindi here.

1A Mangai77Naina Dayal
2Abhijit Sengupta78Nancy Adajania
3Abhishek Majumdar79Naresh Fernandes
4Adil Jussawalla80Naseeruddin Shah
5Aditi Mehta81Natasha Badhwar
6Akeel Bilgrami82Navrekha Sharma
7Alok Perti83Nayantara Sahgal
8Amit Bhaduri84Neelan Premji
9Amit Chaudhuri85Neeraj Malik
10Amitabha Pande86Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
11Amitav Ghosh87Nilima Sheikh
12Ammu Joseph88Nirmal Mitra
13Anand Patwardhan89Nivedita Menon
14Anand Teltumbde90Nupur Basu
15Anita Agnihotri91P R Dasgupta
16Anna Dani92P Sainath
17Anuradha Kapur93Padmaja Shaw
18Ardhendu Sen94Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
19Aruna Roy95Partha Chatterjee
20Ashok Sharma96Parthasarathi Majumdar
21Atamjit Singh97Parvathi Menon
22Ayesha Kidwai98Poile Sengupta
23B R P Bhaskar99Prabir Purkayastha
24Badri Raina100Preeti Edakunny
25Bharati Jagannathan101Prema Viswanathan
26Bhasha Singh102Purushottam Agrawal
27C K Meena103Pushpamala N
28Chaman Lal104Rahman Abbas
29Chandrakant Patil105Ratna Pathak Shah
30Chitrangada Choudhury106Rekha Awasthi
31Debashis Chatterji107Renu Ramanath
32Devaki Khanna108Revathi Siva Kumar
33Devasahayam MG109Revati Laul
34Firoz Kamal110Ritu Menon
35G N Devy111Rukmini Bhaya Nair
36Geeta Kapur112S Raghunandana
37Geeta Seshu113Sakuntala Narasimhan
38Geetanjali Shree114Saleem Peeradina
39Gita Jayaraj115Salim Yusufji
40Githa Hariharan116Sandhya Srinivasan
41Hari Vasudevan117Sangeeta Luthra Sharma
42Hindal Tyabji118Sanjeev Kumar
43Indira Chandrasekhar119Satyabhama Subramanian
44Indra Shekhar Shahh120Saumya Chakrabarti
45Javed Malick121Seema Mustafa
46Jeet Thayil122Shafey Kidwai
47Jisha Elizabeth123Shamsul Islam
48Jyothi A124Shankar Raghuraman
49Jyoti Punwani125Shashi Deshpande
50K P Fabian126Shoma A Chatterji
51K. Satchidanandan127Sibaji Bandyopadhyay
52Kamayani Bali Mahabal128Srinivasa Gowda
53Karen Gabriel129Subhasis Nibirh
54Keki Daruwalla130Subir Ghosh
55Keshav Desiraju131Sudhanva Deshpande
56Kingshuk Nag132Sugata Srinivasaraju
57Kumkum Roy133Sujata Madhok
58L H Naqvi134Sujatha Rao
59Leela Jacinto135Sukanta Chaudhuri
60M M P Singh136Sumi Krishna
61Madhu Bhaduri137Sumit Sarkar
62Maja Daruwala138Sundar Burra
63Makarand Sathe139Suresh Goel
64Mala Dayal140Swapan Chakravorty
65Malini Subramaniam141T M Krishna
66Mallika Sarabhai142Tanika Sarkar
67Manabi Majumdar143Tapati Guha Thakurta
68Mangad Rathnakaran144Vibha Puri Das
69Manishi Jani145Vibodh Parthasarathi
70Mannika Chopra146Vijay Prashad
71Meena Gupta147Vijaya Venkataraman
72Meena Menon148Vinod K Jose
73Meher149Vivek Narayanan
74Melanie P Kumar150Zoya Hasan
75Mridula Garg151Rajendra Chenni
76Mrinal Pande152Uma Bhrugubanda

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