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List of Government’s Revised “Lockdown Guidelines”: Know What’s Permitted, What’s Not

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list of revised guidlines for lockdown

New Delhi-Government of India issued an Order on 14th April 2020 that the lockdown measures stipulated in the Consolidated Guidelines of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country, will continue to remain in force upto 3rd May 2020.

In pursuance of the above-said order of Government of India, MHA has issued consolidated revised guidelines regarding lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/UT Governments for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country. The guidelines also prescribe National Directives for COVID-19 management; SOPs for Social Distancing at offices, workplaces, factories and establishments; and, penalties for offences regarding violation of lockdown measures under relevant sections of Disaster Management Act 2005 and IPC, 1860.

MHA has directed all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India and State Governments /Union Territory Administrations for the strict implementation of enclosed consolidated revised guidelines.

Note: Below Given Document has not been edited by Himachal Watcher. It was published as it was received from by the Union Government. 

List of Services to Remain Prohibited During Lockdown

With the extension of the lockdown period, the following activities will continue to remain prohibited across the country until 3rd May 2020:

  1. All domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for purposes enumerated in para 4 (ix), and for security purposes.
  2. All passenger movement by trains, except for security purposes.
  3. Buses for public transport.
  4. Metro rail services.
  5. Inter-district and inter-State movement of individuals except for medical reasons or for activities permitted under these guidelines.
  6. All educational, training, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
  7. All industrial and commercial activities other than those specifically permitted
    under these guidelines.
  8. Hospitality services other than those specifically permitted under these guidlines
  9. Taxis (including auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws) and services of cab
  10. All cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
  11. All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious
    functions/ other gatherings.
  12. All religious places/ places of worship shall be closed for public. Religious
    congregations are strictly prohibited.
  13. In case of funerals, congregation of more than twenty persons will not be

Operation of guidelines in Hotspots and containment zones

  1. `Hotspots’, areas of large COVID-19 outbreaks, or clusters with significant spread of COVID-19, will be determined as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India (Gal).
  2. In these hotspots, containment zones will be demarcated by States/ UTs/ District administrations as per the guidelines of MoHFW.
  3. In these containment zones, the activities allowed under these guidelines will not be permitted. There shall be strict perimeter control in the area of the containment zones to ensure that there is no unchecked inward/ outward movement of population from these zones except for maintaining essential services (including medical emergencies and law and order related duties) and Government business continuity. The guidelines issued in this regard by MoHFW will be strictly implemented by State/ UT Governments and the local district authorities.

Services Permitted

Selected permitted activities allowed with effect from 20th April, 2020:

To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed which will come into effect from 20th April, 2020. These limited exemptions will be operationalized by States/ UTs/ district administrations based on strict compliance to the existing guidelines. Also, before allowing these select additional activities. States/ UTs/ district administrations shall ensure that all preparatory arrangements with regard to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for social distancing in offices, workplaces, factories and establishments, as also other sectoral requirements are in place.

The consolidated revised guidelines incorporating these select permitted activities have been enumerated in paras 5-20 below.

Strict enforcement of the lockdown guidelines

State/ UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner, and shall strictly enforce the samee.

State/ UT Governments, may, however, impose stricter measures than these guidelines as per requirement of the local areas.

All health services (including AYUSH) to remain functional, such as:

  1. Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, telemedicine facilities.
  2. Dispensaries, chemists, pharmacies, all kinds of medicine shops including Jan Aushadhi Kendras and medical equipment shops.
  3. Medical laboratories and collection centres.
  4. Pharmaceutical and medical research labs, institutions carrying out COVI 0-19 related research.
  5. Veterinary Hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, pathology labs, sale and supply of vaccine and medicine.
  6. Authorised private establishments, which support the provisioning of essential services, or efforts for containment of COVID-19, including home care providers, diagnostics, supply chain firms serving hospitals.
  7. Manufacturing units of drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical oxygen, their packaging material, raw material and intermediates.
  8. Construction of medical/ health infrastructure including manufacture of  ambulances.
  9. Movement (inter and intra State, including by air) of all medical and veterinary personnel, scientists, nurses, para-medical staff, lab technicians, midwives and other hospital support services, including ambulances.

 Agricultural and related activities:

All agricultural and horticultural activities to remain fully functional, such as:

  1. Farming operations by farmers and farm workers in field.
  2. Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations.
  3. ‘Mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) or as notified by the State/ UT Government (e.g., satellite mandis).
  4. Direct marketing operations by the State/ UT Government or by industry directly from farmers/ group of farmers, FPOs’ co-operatives etc. States/ UTs may promote decentralized marketing and procurement at village level.
  5. Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs to remain open.
  6. ‘Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)’ related to farm machinery.
  7. Manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.
  8. Movement (inter and Intra State) of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/ horticulture implements.

Fisheries – the following activities will be functional:

  1. Operations of the fishing (marine and inland)/ aquaculture industry, including feeding & maintenance, harvesting, processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing.
  2. Hatcheries, feed plants, commercial aquaria.
  3. Movement of fish/ shrimp and fish products, fish seed/ feed and workers for all these activities.

Plantations- the following activities will be functional:

Operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations, with maximum of 50% of workers

Processing, packaging, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber and cashew, with maximum of 50% workers.

Animal husbandry — the following activities will be functional:

 Collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk and milk products by milk processing plants, including transport and supply chain.

  1. Operation of animal husbandry farms including poultry farms & hatcheries and livestock farming activity.
  2. Animal feed manufacturing and feed plants, including supply of raw material, such as maize and soya.
  3. Operation of animal shelter homes

 

Financial sector: following to remain functional:

  1. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and RBI regulated financial markets and entities
  2. like NPCI, CCIL, payment system operators and standalone primary dealers.
  3. Bank branches and ATMs, IT vendors for banking operations, Banking
  4. Correspondents (BCs), ATM operation and cash management agencies.
  5. Bank branches be allowed to work as per normal working hours till disbursal of DBT cash transfers is complete.
  6. Local administration to provide adequate security personnel at bank branches and BCs to maintain social distancing. law and order and staggering of account holders.
  7. SEBI, and capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and
  8. Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  9. IRDAI and Insurance companies.

Social sector: following to remain functional:

  1. Operation of homes for children/ disabled/ mentally challenged/ seniorcitizens/ destitutes/ women/ widows.
  2. Observation homes, after care homes and places of safety for juveniles.
  3. Disbursement of social security pensions, e.g., old age/ widow/ freedom fighter pensions; pension and provident fund services provided by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
  4. Operation of Anganwadis — distribution of food items and nutrition once in 15 days at the doorsteps of beneficiaries, e.g., children, women and lactating mothers.

Online teaching/ distance learning to be encouraged:

  1. All educational, training, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
  2. However, these establishments are expected to maintain the academic schedule through online teaching.
  3. Maximum use of Doordarshan (DD) and other educational channels may be made for teaching purposes.

MNREGA works to be allowed:

  1. MNREGA works are allowed with strict implementation of social distancing and face mask.
  2. Priority to be given under MNREGA to irrigation and water conservation works.
  3. Other Central and State sector schemes in irrigation and water conservation sectors may also be allowed to be implemented and suitably dovetailed with MNREGA works.

Public utilities: following to remain functional:

  1. Operations of Oil and Gas sector, including refining, transportation, distribution, storage and retail of products, e.g., petrol, diesel, kerosene, CNG, LPG, PNG etc.
  2. Generation, transmission and distribution of power at Central and State/ UT
  3. Postal services, including post offices.
  4. Operations of utilities in water, sanitation and waste management sectors, at municipal/ local body levels in States and UTs.
  5. Operation of utilities providing telecommunications and Internet services.

 Movement, loading/ unloading of goods/ cargo (inter and intra State) is allowed, as under:

  1. All goods traffic will be allowed to ply.
  2. Operations of Railways: Transportation of goods and parcel trains.
  3. Operations of Airports and related facilities for air transport for cargo movement, relief and evacuation.
  4. Operations of Seaports and Inland Container Depots (ICDs) for cargo transport, including authorized custom clearing and forwarding agents.

 

  1. Operations of Land Ports for cross land border transportation of essential goods, including petroleum products and LPG, food products, medical
  2. Movement of all trucks and other goods/ carrier vehicles with two drivers and one helper subject to the driver carrying a valid driving license; an empty truck/ vehicle will be allowed to ply after the delivery of goods, or for pick up of Shops for truck repairs and dhabas on highways, with a stipulated minimum distance as prescribed by the State/ UT authorities.
  3. Movement of staff and contractual labour for operations of railways, airports/ air carriers, seaports/ ships/ vessels.
  4. Landports and ICDs is allowed on passes being issued by the local authority on the basis of authorizations issued by the respective designated authority of the railways, airports, seaports, landports and 1CDs.

Supply of essential goods is allowed, as under:

  1. All facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-Commerce companies should be allowed to operate, ensuring strict social distancing without any restriction on their timing of opening and closure.
  2. Shops (including Kirana and single shops selling essential goods) and carts, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food and groceries (for daily use), hygiene items, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, poultry, meat and fish, animal feed and fodder etc, should be allowed to operate, ensuring strict social distancing without any restriction on their timing of opening and closure.
  3. District authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the
    movement of individuals outside their homes.

Commercial and private establishments, as listed below, will be allowed to operate:

  1. Print and electronic media including broadcasting, DTH and cable services.
  2. IT and IT enabled Services, with upto 50% strength.
  3. Data and call centres for Government activities only.
  4. Government approved Common Service Centres (CSCs) at Gram Panchayat
  5. E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions.
  6. Courier services.
  7. Cold storage and warehousing services, including at ports, airports, railway stations, container Depots, individual units and other links in the logistics
  8. Private security services and facilities management services for maintenance and upkeep of office and residential complexes.
  9. Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea
  10. Establishments used/ earmarked for quarantine facilities.
  11. Services provided by self-employed persons, e.g., electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, and carpenters.

 

Industries/ Industrial Establishments (both Government and private), as listed below, will be allowed to operate:

  1. Industries operating in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities.
  2. Manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EoUs), industrial estates, and industrial townships. These establishments shall make arrangements for stay of workers within their premises as far as possible and/ or adjacent buildings and for implementation of the Standard operating protocol (SOP) as referred to in para 21 (ii) below. The transportation of workers to workplace shall be arranged by the employers in dedicated transport by ensuring social distancing.
  3. Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates.
  4. Food processing industries in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities.
  5. Production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain.
  6. Manufacturing of IT hardware.
  7. Coal production, mines and mineral production, their transportation, supply of explosives and activities incidental to mining operations.
  8. Manufacturing units of packaging material.
  9. Jute industries with staggered shifts and social distancing.
  10. Oil and gas exploration/ refinery.
  11. Brick kilns in rural areas i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations.

Construction activities, listed as below, will be allowed to operate:

  1. Construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs, in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities; and all kinds of projects in industrial estates.
  2. Construction of renewable energy projects.
  3. Continuation of works in construction projects, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside (in situ construction).

Movement of persons is allowed in the following cases:

  1. Private vehicles for emergency services, including medical and veterinary and for procuring essential commodities. In such cases, one passenger besides the private vehicle driver can be permitted in the backseat, in case of four-wheelers; however, in case of two-wheelers, only the driver of the vehicle is to be permitted.
  2. All personnel travelling to place of work and back in the exempted categories, as per the instructions of the State/ UT local authority.

 

Offices of the Government of India, its Autonomous/ Subordinate Offices will remain open, as mentioned below:

  1. Defence, Central Armed Police Forces, Health and Family Welfare, Disaster management and Early Warning Agencies (IMD, INCOIS, SASE and National Centre of Seismology.
  2. CWC), National Informatics Centre (NIG), Food Corporation of India (FCI), NCC, Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYKs) and Customs to function without any restriction.
  3. Other Ministries and Departments, and offices under their control, are to function with 100% attendance of Deputy Secretary and levels above that.
  4. Remaining officers and staff to attend upto 33% as per requirement.

Offices of the State/ Union Territory Governments, their Autonomous Bodies and Local Governments will remain open, as mentioned below:

  1. Police, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, disaster management, prisons and municipal services will function without any All other Departments of State/ UT Governments to work with restricted staff.
  2. Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers may attend as required. Group ‘C’ and levels below that may attend upto 33% of strength, as per requirement to ensure social However, delivery of public services shall be ensured, and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.
  3. District administration and Treasury (including field offices of the Accountant General) will function with restricted staff. However, delivery of public services shall be ensured, and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.
  4. Resident Commissioner of States/ UTs, in New Delhi, only to the extent of coordinating COVID-19 related activities and internal kitchen operations.
  5. Forest offices: staff/ workers required to operate and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, fire-fighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement.

 Persons to remain under mandatory quarantine, as under:

  1. All such persons who have been directed by health care personnel to remain under strict home/ institutional quarantine for a period as decided by local Health Authorities.
  2. Persons violating quarantine will be liable to legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, 1860.
  3. Quarantined persons, who have arrived in India after 15.2.2020, after expiry of their quarantine period and being tested COVID-19 negative, will be released following the protocol prescribed in the SOP issued by MHA.

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Himachal Kisan Sabha Condemns Alleged Mowing Down of Protesting Farmers by Minister’s Son, Calls it “Ghastly” and “Inhuman”

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Himachak Kisan Sabha

Shimla-Himachal Kisan Sabha has condemned the incident where four farmers were allegedly run over by vehicles in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, terming it a “ghastly” and “inhuman” act. The Sabha paid tribute to the martyred farmers and demanded immediate arrest of Ashish Mishra – son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra – and other accused and book them under Section 302 (murder).

The farmers have alleged that three SUVs that mowed down protesting farmers were part of the convoy of the Union Minister of State. The farmers alleged that Minister’s son was behind the wheel in one of these SUVs. Following this incident, violence broke out that killed four more persons. The Minister, however, denied the allegations. 

Kisan Sabha also demanded that an inquiry should be conducted into the incident by a Supreme Court Judge. The Sabha also demanded that the Union Minister of State should be suspended with immediate effect.

Sabha said that it’s extremely shameful that the Centre government is attempting to end farmers protest against three Farm Laws in a dictatorial way by means of violence.

“On September 25, 2021, Union Minister of State, Ajay Mishra, had threatened to end the farmers protest within two minutes in a public meeting, and now his son has been alleged of mowing down farmers,” said State President of Himachal Kisan Sabha, Dr Kuldeep Singh Tanwar.

“The execution of this ghastly act merely one day after the non-violence day clearly reflects that the current Centre Government has no belief in democracy. The government wants to suppress dissenting voices rising against it at any cost,” Tanwar added.

Dr Tanwar further added that protests would be staged against this “barbaric” act in Himachal Pradesh too. The sacrifice of martyred farmers won’t go in vain, and it would only strengthen the farmers’ protest, he added.  

Meanwhile, following this incident, Priyanka Gandhi, who was on her way to Lakhimpur to meet the affected families, was detained by police, while Akhilesh Yadav – former Chief Minister of UP and president of Samajwadi Party- was put under house arrest ahead of his scheduled visit.

 

 

 

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Covid-19 Needs a Regional Response, Say Physicians and Activists at SAPAN Meeting

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Poster

Peace activists under the SAPAN platform conducted an event on Sunday which included prominent physicians like Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Dr Anup Subedee, Dr Vandana Prasad, and Dr Hamid Jafari of Pakistan (led the team that eradicated polio in India). Speakers included Salima Hashmi, Khushi Kabir, Kanak Dixit, Lalita Ramdas, besides journalists Beena Sarwar, Mandira Nayar and others. Activist Priyanka Singh conducted the event.

South Asian countries cannot go it alone, that’s irrational,’’ said Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, renowned public health activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee from Bangladesh.

The hard lockdown in his country will lead to furthering the inequalities in society, he warned, emphasizing that it is irresponsible to impose lockdowns without providing food. “Poverty has increased. There are 25 million more poor without food.”

Dr Chowdhury was among the physicians and health right activists across countries who came together on Sunday 27 June at a webinar organised by the South Asia Peace Action Network (SAPAN) to emphasize that the coronavirus pandemic must be fought collectively.

The third in the series of SAPAN’s monthly public webinars themed ‘Imagine: Neighbours in Peace’, the meeting focused on health as an entry point to talk about South Asian regionalism and Healthcare for all. Three main aspects deliberated included:

  How the pandemic is affecting rural areas of South Asian countries, hurdles in treatment, and access — or lack thereof — to vaccinations.

  How COVID-19 has affected mental health, women and particularly women in rural areas of all the countries of the region

  How the challenges are similar in all countries of the region and require similar solutions.

The meeting took place at a time when South Asia is reeling from the devastating second wave of Covid-19, especially in India. With Delta plus virus mutation now detected in parts of the region, the possibility of another wave looms large.

Journalist Mandira Nayar in Delhi moderated the physicians’ panel with Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury in Dhaka; infectious diseases specialist Dr Anup Subedee in Kathmandu and public health activist Dr Vandana Prasad also in Delhi. Dr Hamid Jafari of Pakistan, who led the WHO team that eradicated polio in India, joined from his current posting in Jordan. 

Dr Chowdhury advocated challenging vaccine-producing countries and pushing South Asian governments to invest more in public health.

Participants also noted that the pandemic has particularly hit women hard.

“Domestic violence has increased,” noted Dr Prasad. Women often lack control over finances, are primary caregivers and shoulder the responsibility of caring for the ill. The pandemic has pushed women further into the margins, she said, adding that there is also a “gender dimension to the access of vaccines”.

She urged doctors to enter the peace activism domain, because the poor all over are at the brink of disaster.

Dr Prasad drew attention to the gendered nature of pandemic and frontline workers, as well as Dalits, indigenous people, other minorities. “Telemedicine is important, but we must not lose focus on need for ground-based public health to begin with”.

Frontline workers in India, the accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers often lack training, safety equipment and often doesn’t get her wages for months.

While highlighting that a public health system is meant to be a great equaliser, Dr Anup Subedee noted how the pandemic exposed systematic failures in many aspects of life in Nepal, referring not only to the grievous impact on non-Covid healthcare – like child immunization and maternity care – but also the painful ordeals of healthcare community itself. 

He shared how the healthcare community in Nepal has been compelled to deal with threats of violence, lack of access to personal protection equipment, prospects of income loss without any social security system support, and an unaddressed mental health crisis among healthcare workers. 

Doctors at the meeting endorsed the need for greater cooperation and collaboration across borders. Participants called on the governments to allow free flow of critical equipment and medical personnel across borders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had floated the idea of a SAARC medical visas for patients and for medical teams to assist during the pandemic – something that must be followed up.

The doctors also urged the international fraternity to push for a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, waiver so that the Covid-19 vaccine production can be ramped up. “It is the way forward for vaccines for all,’’ asserted Dr Prasad.

Activist Khushi Kabir in Dhaka introduced the event. She talked about connections, sharing her memory of how Dr Haroon Ahmed, one of the event’s speakers, was her physician when she was a child and he was starting work at a government clinic in Karachi. Dr Haroon was unable to join at the last moment due to ill health. 

Wishing him a speedy recovery, Khushi commented, “Each time we meet, there are more losses people who have been part of our journey”. As at the previous SAPAN meeting there was a commemoration of mentors and leaders whose vision SAPAN is taking forward, like Asma Jahangir and Dr Mubashir Hasan, and Nirmala Despande and others. 

There was also a moment of silence to express condolences and share the grief of the families and friends of those lost to Covid and other causes over the past month. “Since we were unable to memorialise everyone, the presentation could only be symbolic,” noted Khushi Kabir.

The In Memoriam slideshow includes journalist Ghazi Salahuddin’s three siblings taken by Covid in as many weeks, including Dr Aquila Islam, Pakistan’s first woman nuclear physicist. It also included the legendary runner Milkha Singh and his wife, volleyball champ Nirmal Saini who died within days of each other, and radiologist Chinna Dua, 56, wife of journalist Vinod Dua. She had endeared herself to music and poetry lovers across the region when she joined Tina Sani some years back at the Faiz Festival in Karachi – on Facebook at this link.

Ghazi Salahuddin has written about his family tragedy in a brave and heartbreaking oped for The News, Partings without goodbyes (20 June 2021), noting: “my struggle to cope with this terrible bereavement was eased a bit when I reminded myself that this pandemic has devastated so many families across the world…”

Several well known activists and experts also joined from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and elsewhere, including Hina Jillani, Urvashi Butalia, Jean Dreze, Kavita Srivastava, Shireen Huq, Kanak Mani Dixit and others.

The South Asia Peace Action Network (SAPAN) is primarily a coalition of individuals and organisations aiming to take forward a peace agenda for the region, building on the work done by mentors and leaders over the last few decades. 

SAPAN founder and curator Beena Sarwar shared the story of this network and her vision for an inter-generational, multi-sectoral, inter- and intra-regional coalition of individuals and organisations coming together in broad consensus for a one-point agenda.

Facebook live recording is online at this link

Source: SAPAN,  Beena Sarwar, Kanak Mani Dixit, Mandira Nayar, Rida Anwaar, Rehmat Merchant, Priyanka Singh and some other peace activists present in the virtual session

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Editors Guild of India Condemns FIR Against Journalists, Calls it Destructive of Freedom of Speech

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ghaziabad incident
Image Credit: The Cognate

Shimla-The Editors Guild of India on Thursday condemned the filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) by the Uttar Pradesh Police against The Wire and several other journalists for their tweets on an assault on an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad on June 5th.

“The Guild is deeply concerned by the UP Police’s track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals”, it said.

It further added that it is the duty of the journalists to report on the basis of sources and in case facts become contested later on, to report the emerging versions and facets.

The guild called such actions by the police destructive of freedom of speech. It also claimed that the police has been discriminatory in targeting those media organizations and journalists when thousands had tweeted the video- that have been critical of the government and its policies.

“The Guild condemns this wanton misuse of laws to criminalize reporting and dissent to harass independent media and demands that the FIRs be withdrawn immediately,” it demanded.

Several media organizations and journalists had posted the video on their social media feeds. The UP police has filled FIR’s against The Wire, Twitter, journalist Mohammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub and Sana Naqvi and some Congress leaders under IPC Sections 153(provocation for rioting), 153A(promoting enmity between different groups), 295A(acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 505(mischief), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 34(common intention) against them.

In the video that was posted by those charged, the man is seen alleging that he was beaten up by some people and was forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.

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