Sitaram Yechury reacts after Delhi Police reaches his house in NewsClick probe

Oct 03, 2023 01:17 PM IST

Delhi Police raid CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury's residence, looking for the son of a party staff member who works at NewsClick.

The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrived at the official residence of CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury as part of the ongoing action against entities and journalists linked to NewsClick, the online news portal recently named by the New York Times for allegedly receiving Chinese funding. Yechury said that the raid was not targeted at the CPI-M, saying the police were looking for the son of a party office staff who works at NewsClick as a graphics artist.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. (File Photo / Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. (File Photo / Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

"Police came to my residence because one of my companions who lives with me there, his son, works for NewsClick. The police came to question him. They took his laptop and phone. What are they investigating? Nobody knows. If this is an attempt to try and muzzle the media, the country must know the reason behind this," Yechury said.

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Delhi Police's Special Cell conducted raids at 30 premises connected with NewsClick as well as its journalists' houses.

Some journalists, including NewsClick editor Prabir Purkayastha, and writers Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Urmilesh, were brought to the Lodhi Road Special Cell office, but no one has been arrested so far, police said.

A team of Delhi Police's Special Cell also seized journalist Abhishar Sharma's gadgets from his home in Noida Extension and brought him to the special cell office for questioning in the case. The raids are based on a case registered on August 17 under stringent UAPA, 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy).

The Press Club of India on X said it is deeply concerned about raids on the houses of journalists and writers associated with NewsClick.

"The Press Club of India is deeply concerned about the multiple raids conducted on the houses of journalists and writers associated with #Newsclick. We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement.

"The PCI stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government to come out with details," it said.

The website recently hit the headlines for allegedly receiving money from US millionaire Neville Roy Singham for pro-China propaganda in India.

Condemnation from Opposition parties

Congress' media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said the early morning raids comes as a "fresh distraction from the explosive findings of caste census in Bihar and the growing demand for caste census across the country".

"When he faces questions from out of syllabus, he resorts to the only counter he has in his predictable syllabus - DISTRACTION," Khera said on X.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also slammed the government over the raids.

"Despite an army of sycophants, some journalists still dare to speak the truth.But the Prime Minister has a special problem with those who speak the truth and those who ask questions," she alleged.

"So they will be raided, intimidated – but Saheb forgets that not everyone's spine is missing as is the case with sycophants," Shrinate said in a post in Hindi on X.

Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti described the raids as a "fishing" expedition.

"GOI claims India is the mother of democracy & about press freedom abroad yet in the same breath uses state agencies to the crackdown on the remaining handful of independent media outlets.

"Even telephone devices have been forcibly snatched only for a fishing expedition. The repeated illegal pattern of arrest first & creating fake charges later is extremely perturbing (sic)," Mufti wrote in a post on X.

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