On Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, Indian police raided the offices of the news website NewsClick that’s under investigation for allegedly receiving funds from China, as well as the homes of several of its journalists, in what critics described as an attack on one of India’s few remaining independent news outlets.
Delhi police on Tuesday raided the offices of news media company NewsClick. The news media house has been under investigation for allegedly receiving funds from China.
Newsclick, the news organization
NewsClick was founded in 2009. The portal has gained the reputation as a rare Indian news outlets that is willing to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his brand of politics.
Reportedly, a number of other news organizations have been investigated for financial impropriety under Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, as international monitors warn that press freedom is eroding in India.
Delhi Police crackdown on Newsclick
Earlier today Delhi Police, on Tuesday, acted on the information provided by Enforcement Directorate, and raided 30 locations in the national capital.
#WATCH | Delhi Police Special Cell officials seal the office of 'NewsClick' in Delhi
Delhi Police is conducting raids at different premises linked to NewsClick under UAPA and other sections today. pic.twitter.com/yc1faa5sQw
— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2023
Electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops were seized and five journalists were taken for further questioning. Some journalists, including Urmilesh and Abhishar Sharma, were taken to the Lodhi Road Special Cell office for questioning.
“Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone,” journalist Abhisar Sharma wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Another journalist, Bhasha Singh, wrote on X,
Finally last tweet from this phone. Delhi police seizure (sic) my phone.
Among those raided were historian Sohail Hashmi.
His sister, Shabnam Hashmi, posted on X,
Today, early morning at 6 am, Delhi Police’s special cell raided Sohail Hashmi’s residence. 6 people barged into the house and the bedroom.
Details of Delhi Police’s raid on Newclick
Teams from all ranges of Delhi Police Special Cell were including 500 cops are deployed in this raid.
PTI reported that they have posed a list of 25 questions to the NewsClick journalists.
NDTV reported, the Delhi police questioned the NewsClick journalists on protests by farmers against the Modi government’s “black” farm laws, and protests in Delhi’s Shaheeh Bagh against the citizenship law.
Founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha was taken to the NewsClick south Delhi office. A forensic team is also at NewsClick’s south Delhi office. Purkayastha was later seen leaving the office with Delhi Police.
Case against NewsClick
Investigative authorities in India registered a case against the NewsClick site and its journalists on17 August, weeks after a New York Times report alleged that the NewsClick website had received funds from an American millionaire who, the Times wrote, has funded the spread of “Chinese propaganda.”
NewsClick has denied the charges.
The case was filed under a draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, an anti-terrorism law that allows charges for “anti-national activities” and has been used against activists, journalists and critics of Modi, some of whom have spent years in jail before going to trial.
Purkayastha, a Monthly Review author, has now been arrested.
INDIA protests raids on NewsClick
Opposition bloc INDIA strongly condemned the raids on NewsClick journalists linked and alleged that the BJP government’s “coercive” actions are directed only against those who speak truth to power and not against those who spread hatred and divisiveness.
The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) said in a statement that the government has also tried to convert the media into a mouthpiece for its partisan and ideological interests by facilitating the takeover of media organisations by crony capitalists.
The Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, and the Samajwadi Party as well as the Press Club of India reacted to the searches and criticized the government for the action.