People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 12

March 13, 2012

‘Resists Attacks on Press Freedom’


On March 12, several intellectuals of Delhi issued the following statement, expressing concern over the arrest of journalist Mohd Ahmed Qazmi.


WE are greatly disturbed by the recent crude attempts by the Delhi Police under the aegis of the Home Ministry to muzzle the press in Delhi. Following the blatantly high handed arrest of journalist Mohammad Ahmed Qazmi there was an attempt to enter the house of Frontline bureau chief John Cherian on Sunday (March 11) on the specious plea of a hoax call. These independent journalists whose professional integrity is above reproach are being targeted to create a fear psychosis.


We are convinced that if such attempts are not resisted, all independent creative and scholarly activity and exchange will come under attack. We call upon all sections of the intelligentsia to come forward to resist such attempts.

We fully support the campaign of the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) and others to condemn these acts and do justice to the arrested journalist Mohammad Ahmed Qazmi and take action against the police personnel involved in the John Cherian case.


The signatories of the statement are Ram Rahman, Veer Munshi, Prof Prabhat Patnaik, M K Raina, Madhu Prasad, Prof C P Chandrasekhar, Sohail Hashmi, Prof D N Jha, Prof Anil Bhatty, Dr P K Shukla and Indira Chandrasekhar, among others.




Earlier, Through a statement issued from New Delhi on March 11, 2012, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has expressed serious concern at the police enquiry at the residence of Dr John Cherian, chief of the Delhi bureau of Frontline magazine (The Hindu group of newspapers), in the afternoon on the same day.


The DUJ noted that incidences of press bashing and enquiries on journalists were on an increase. It has to be noted that the enquiries were made just on the basis of a phone call at No 100. The police, however, retreated and said that they had come in search of some other house.


The DUJ once again appealed to the police commissioner to be cautious, exercise restraint on issues pertaining to journalists and be vigilant against attempts to treat journalists as guinea pigs, often due to pressure. 


On March 12, in regard to M A Kazmi, the DUJ also made an appeal to chief minister of Delhi, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, to intervene on behalf of the arrested journalist. The DUJ said the prolonged custodial interrogation by the police must be stopped as Kazmi is cooperating in the investigation of the bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat last month.  The DUJ has warned against any torture of the journalist who has a long and clean record of professional activity.


In a memorandum submitted on the day, the DUJ asked that the charges framed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act must be withdrawn until investigations are completed. In this connection, the DUJ said that in case the police have any foolproof evidence against Kazmi, a chargesheet must be filed against without delay, so that he might apply for bail.