Bangalore - The Forum Against Illegal Arrest of Journalists will start a three-day fast on Saturday against the arrest of Naveen Soorinje, the TV Journalist who reported the infamous home-stay attack incident at Mangalore in July this year.
The Karnataka Police arrested Soorinje, a TV journalist working with Kasturi Newz24, on 7 November and accused him of committing various crimes along with the attackers who belonged to right-wing extremist groups.
The bail application moved by Soorinje was rejected by both the lower court and the High Court.
“The listing of Soorinje as an accused and not a witness, is not just an affront to press freedom but also a grave violation of his constitutionally guaranteed right to liberty and freedom of speech”, leaders of Forum Against Illegal Arrest of Journalists, told reporters at a press conference here.
Saying that it was Soorinje’s professional commitment to visit the spot and report the outrage conscientiously, they demanded that the government must drop all false charges against Soorinje and release him immediately.
Outraged over his arrest, journalists’ organizations, senior journalists as well as civil society groups have been protesting across the state and demanding that the government should drop its proceedings against him.
Despite several appeals by delegations of journalists to the Governor and the Chief Minister, no action has been taken in this regard. The issue was also taken up with the Home Minister on the floor of the State legislative assembly during the recently concluded session at Belgaum.
“Unfortunately, all these efforts have failed to bear fruit. In these circumstances, journalists, writers and citizens of Karnataka have decided that it is no longer prudent to remain silent in the face of such a serious atrocity”, reads a statement issued by the Forum.
Soorinje has been of booked under different sections of Indian Penal Code like 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 447 (criminal trespass) and 395 (dacoity) and presently languishes in Mangalore prison.
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