Hyderabad/Chandigarh, September 21: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) slammed the Delhi police for arresting a Delhi based freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on 14 September for allegedly passing on defence secrets to China. He is a political analyst and writes on strategic affairs. He also contributes to the Global Times, the English language daily of the Communist Party of China.
In a statement issued on Monday, 21 September, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) President K Sreenivas Reddy, Secretary-General Balwinder Singh Jammu expressed surprise over the arrest of Rajeev Sharma under the antiquated Official Secrets Act even after the police themselves conceded that he did not leak information from the Defence ministry. The IJU pointed out that the Delhi police have the dubious distinction of arresting journalists on flimsy grounds and then get a rap from the higher judiciary. The IJU demanded that the police in general should inform the Press Council of India before arrest of a journalist.
“The Delhi police in earlier years arrest Iftikhar Gilani, a senior journalist then working for Kashmir Times for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Pakistan and S M K Kazmi working for an Iranian News Agency, for allegedly spying for Iran and the cases were quashed by the judiciary after the journalists suffered miserable time in jails. Their families suffered incalculable harassment and financial loss,” the statement pointed out. The IJU demanded the immediate release of Rajeev Sharma, as he was only analysing the defence strategies on the basis information available in the public domain as a part of his journalistic work.
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