Cong slams BJP over arrest of journalist

NEW DELHI, 31 Jan: The Congress on Sunday slammed the BJP-led Centre over the arrest of a freelance journalist from the Singhu border with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying those who fear truth arrest honest scribes.

Mandeep Punia was arrested from the Singhu border on Sunday for allegedly misbehaving with the police personnel on duty at the farmers’ protest site there, officials said.

A case was registered against him and he has been arrested now, a senior police officer said, a day after the scribe was detained.

Reacting to the development, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, “Those who fear truth arrest honest journalists.”

He also tagged a video purportedly showing Punia being held by police at the Singhu border.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said journalists covering the farmers’ movement are being arrested, cases are being slapped against them and the internet is being shut down in many places.

“The BJP government wants to trample upon the voice of the farmers, but they have

forgotten that the more you suppress, the more voices will rise against your atrocities,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, in a tweet in Hindi, addressed PM Modi and said by slapping false cases at the BJP’s behest against journalists exposing the attack on farmers and shutting down mobile internet at protest sites, “you will not be able to suppress the farmers’ movement and shut out the country’s voice”.

At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate hit out at the government, saying it is the 70th day of the protest by farmers and they have been forced to sit at the borders by an “insensitive, obstinate and stubborn government that itself dug trenches and refused the farmers any entry in Delhi”.

“For anybody who tries to show their plight, their pain, this government will go after them — whether it is people in social life, in political life or journalists. A very young journalist by the name Mandeep Punia was arrested and was presented before the court even before his Defence lawyer could reach,” she said, slamming the government over the scribe’s arrest.

“We strongly condemn the sedition cases they have filed against our own MP Shashi Tharoor or the kind of sedition cases that have been filed against Mrinal Pande, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Jose, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath and Anant Nath ,” Shrinate said.

Tharoor and the six journalists have been booked by police, including in BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, over their allegedly misleading tweets on the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. (PTI)