India: Criminalization of various “Outlook” Magazine journalists including Editor-in-Chief and publisher Neha Dixit

12/08/2016
Urgent Appeal

IND 005 / 0816 / OBS 074
Criminalization / Judicial Harassment
India
August 12, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.

Description of the Situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the criminalization and judicial harassment of journalist and “Outlook” Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and publisher, Ms. Neha Dixit [1] as well as other journalists of “Outlook” Magazine, for publishing an investigation alleging trafficking in June 2015 of at least 31 girls belonging to Bodo and Santhal communities from Assam, Kokjrajhar district, by organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti [2].

According to the information received, on August 4, 2016, a police complaint against journalist Neha Dixit and other “Outlook” Magazine journalists was filed at Latasil Police Station in Guwahati city, Assam, by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party [3]. The case [4] was registered under sections 120 (B) (“Punishment of criminal conspiracy”), and 153 (A) (“promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Observatory strongly condemns the attempts to criminalize Ms. Neha Dixit as well as the other “Outlook” journalists, and calls upon the Indian authorities to put an end to the ongoing judicial harassment against them, as well as against all journalists and human rights defenders in India. Besides, until all charges against Ms. Neha Dixit and other journalists of “Outlook” are dropped, the Observatory urges the Indian authorities to ensure that judicial proceedings against them are carried out in full compliance with their right to a fair trial, as provided for under international law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of India asking them to:

i. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - againstMs. Neha Dixit and other journalists of “Outlook” Magazine, as well as against all journalists and human rights defenders in India so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally close the criminal case againstMs. Neha Dixit and other journalists of “Outlook” Magazine;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Neha Dixit and other journalists of “Outlook” Magazine, as well as of all journalists and in India, who merely exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1 and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by India.

Addresses:

· Mr. Shri Nanredra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: pmosb@pmo.nic.in / manmo@sansad.in
· Mr. Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979. Email: dirfcra-mha@gov.in
· Mr. Justice T.S. Thakur, Chief Justiceof India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: supremecourt@nic.in
· Mr. Justice Shri H.L. Dattu,Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 2465 1329. Email: covdnhrc@nic.in; ionhrc@nic.in
· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath, Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission, Email: hrd-nhrc@nic.in
· Mr. Keshari Nath Tripathi, Governor of West Bengal, Kolkata, Fax +91 33 2200 2444. Email : secy-gov-wb@nic.in; governor-wb@nic.in
· H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Fax: +41 22 906 86 96, Email: mission.india@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of India in Brussels, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 2 6451869

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of India in your respective country.

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  • Co-signatories

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    Geneva-Paris, August 12, 2016

    Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

    To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
    · E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
    · Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
    · Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

  • Member organisations - India
    vignette contact
    India
    B-117 Second Floor Sarvodaya Enclave
    110 017 New Delhi
    +91 11 2685 0523
    +91 11 2652 8152
    +91 11 2686 4678
    +91 11 2686 4688
    vignette contact
    India
    6A, Vallabai Road, Chokkikulam
    625 002 Madurai
    +91-452 2539 520

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