The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notice to Chhattisgarh government over the "arrest and torture" of a journalist in Bastar by the police for allegedly posting objectionable comments on social media.
The Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh have been given two weeks time to submit a factual report in the matter.
Singh was picked up by police from Dantewada and charged under Sections 292 and 67 and 67(A) of IT Act, based on a complaint by Santosh Tiwari who took umbrage to a post allegedly circulated by Singh on a WhatsApp group.
Mr Singh was the third Bastar journalist arrested by police in the past three months.
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Besides, on March 1, Prabhat had also filed a complaint against Santosh Tiwari, Mahesh Rao (local journalists) and members of Samajik Ekta Manch, a social organisation which conducts anti-Naxal mass events along with police, and accused them of defaming him on a WhatsApp group named "Bastar News" using abusive language, Vishnu said. The lawyer said Singh told the court that he was beaten in custody. "Mama" is a term commonly used by journalists in the region to refer to a top police officer in the Bastar range. "Prabhat Singh started working for Patrika as an agent from Barsoor and then also contributed articles from Dantewada sometimes as stringer, which is a common practice".
Recently, Malini Subramanium, a journalist with Scroll.in had to leave her home in Jagdalpur allegedly due to pressure from the Manch, reported DNA. "We had no idea about his whereabouts until he was produced in a court this evening [Tuesday]", Mr. Prabhat Singh's brother Vishnu Singh told The Hindu. "When we were told by the staff at his shop that he was picked by police, we went to Geedam and Dantewada police station and cops were clueless about him".
Asked about the other cases slapped on Singh, his advocate Khitij Dubey said, "One relates to a case where Singh had gone to report on cheating in a school, where the authorities framed him in a false case of taking photographs of girls in the toilet". Nag was arrested in July a year ago, and Yadav two months later. "Just because he was arrested in this case, they have been added by police".