CJA condemns detention of Mumbai journalist

CJA condemns detention of Mumbai journalist

Dwivedi was arrested under the Official Secrets Act after an article was published in June 2010 under his name in a Mumbai newspaper that spoke about how newly procured equipment was being stored in a room with a leaky roof, making their use in an emergency situation highly questionable.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) filed a case against Dwivedi on charges of trespassing. He was arrested May 17.

The CJA has condemned the incident, and said the "incarceration, assault or forcible obstruction of a journalist in the course of his or her professional duty is of grave concern in any circumstance".

"In Mr. Dwivedi's case, it is especially egregious and we join with our Indian
and international colleagues in their vigorous condemnation," it said in a statement.

The CJA said it "wonders" why Mumbai authorities were not thanking Dwivedi for his reporting rather than "shooting the messenger" for a story that was clearly in public interest.

"And why, we ask, has his arrest come now, a year after the story was published?" it said.

"We assume the government of India purchased the weaponry with the public's money. The fact that the weapons and related equipment were kept in unsafe conditions is a fair line of inquiry for any journalist in a democracy whose job it is to be the eyes and ears of the people."

The CJA urged the authorities to immediately release and exonerate Dwivedi and "publicly apologise" for the suffering he and his family have endured.

The journalist association added that it was disappointed to have to issue such a strong condemnation of India "whose reputation as a growing beacon of democracy is developing so positively in the eyes of the world".