The CPI(M) on Sunday condemned the filing of FIRs against journalists and charging them for sedition after the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day, saying the 'BJP has intensified attacks' on media persons using state governments ruled by the party.
In a statement after a meeting of the party's Central Committee, the CPI(M) demanded the immediate withdrawal of the FIRs and said that such efforts to "intimidate and terrorise journalists have been going on for some time under the BJP administrations in many cases".
The BJP through its state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka and in Delhi where the police are under the Union Home Ministry, has "intensified attacks against those journalists who have been reporting truthfully the events" connected with the farmers’ protests, it said.
Read More | Media bodies condemn action against journalists during farmers' tractor rally
"But since January 28, FIRs have been filed against nine Indian journalists on charges of sedition and nine other provisions of law, including promoting communal disharmony, insulting religious beliefs, assertions prejudicial to national integration etc. Reputed senior journalists have been slapped with these charges on the basis of their personal tweets on social media. This is reprehensible and smacks of efforts to browbeat, intimidate and harass the media," it said.
FIRs under sedition have been filed against journalists Rajdeep Sardesai (India Today TV), Mrinal Pande and Zafar Agha (National Herald) and Paresh Nath, Ananth Nath and Vinod K Jose (Caravan) charging them under sections including that of sedition after they tweeted about the death of a farmer in police firing during the protest, which was denied by police. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was also named in these FIRs.
The Wire's Siddharth Varadarajan is also facing similar FIRs while Delhi Police arrested a freelance journalist Mandeep Punia accusing him of misbehaving with police at Singhu border, one of the spots where the protesters are sitting.
Along with Punia, another journalist Dharmendra Singh was detained but he was released later.