Home Minister R Ashok discussing the issue with agitators
Bangalore - The Karnataka Home Minister Sunday assured the agitators that the cases against journalist Naveen Soorinje will be withdrawn. Following the assurance and appeal from Home Minister, the members of Forum Against Illegal Arrest of Journalists called off the fast.
The arrest of a journalist was unfortunate, I have already written to the Police regarding Naveen Soorinje’s release. Since the matter is in the Court, it may take some time, Home Minister R Ashok told agitators, who are fasting at Freedom Park since Saturday.
Also, a decision to withdraw the cases against Naveen Soorinje will be taken in the next cabinet meeting and I have discussed this matter with the Chief Minister, he further said.
Following the appeal from the Home Minister, protestors called off the three-day fasting agitation on the second day itself.
The Home Minister has assured us of withdrawing the cases against Naveen Soorinje and also appealed to us to end fasting. We will end fasting today, but will continue our struggle until cases are withdrawn, said Ravi Krishna Reddy, convener of the Forum.
Journalists, rights activists and members of civil society organizations had begun a three-day fast on Saturday demanding immediate release and withdrawal of charges against Naveen Soorinje, the TV journalist who reported the infamous home-stay attack at Mangalore in July this year.
The Karnataka Police had 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 listing of Soorinje as an accused and not as a witness has been receiving the widespread condemnation from across the state.
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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