The editor of a Hindi news channel was arrested by Gurugram Police on Friday for allegedly sharing inflammatory posts on social media about the communal violence in Nuh and other districts of Haryana.
Mukesh Kumar, resident editor of Sudarshan News, was arrested from Gurugram’s Sector 17, the police said. The channel had initially claimed that Mr Kumar was “kidnapped” by some “goons”. However, Gurugram Police issued a clarification stating that he was arrested by the Cyber Crime division.
Six people were killed in clashes that broke out in Muslim-majority Nuh on July 31, when a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) procession was attacked by mobs. The dead included two home guards and a cleric.
Mr Kumar tweeted that the Gurugram Police acted against ‘Hindu activists’ due to pressure from Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel. He alleged that the foreign media outlet has been making calls to Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran, asking her to take action against Hindus in connection with the communal riots.
“The @AJENews (Al Jazeera News Channel) has been making calls to the Gurgaon Police Commissioner and pressuring her to take action against Hindus. And after receiving the call, @DC_Gurugram comes under so much pressure she picks up Hindu activists from anywhere,” read Mr Kumar’s post on August 8.
गुड़गांव की पुलिस कमिश्नर को @AJENews (अल जजीरा न्यूज चैनल) से फ़ोन किया जा रहा है
हिंदुओं के खिलाफ कार्रवाई के लिए दबाव बनाया जा रहा है।
और @DC_Gurugram फोन आने के बाद इतने दबाव में आ जाती हैं कि कहीं से भी हिंदूवादी कार्यकर्ताओं को उठा ले रही है@cmohry कृपया संज्ञान लें pic.twitter.com/bIjVYfR0Di
— Mukesh Kumar (@mukeshkrd) August 8, 2023
The Gurugram Police termed Mr Kumar’s post as “baseless, false, and misleading” before registering a case against him under relevant sections of the IT Act.
— Gurugram Police (@gurgaonpolice) August 11, 2023
Responding to the FIR, Sudarshan News reported that Mr Kumar had gone to Mewat to help Hindu activists. The channel claimed that Mr was Kidnapped by “goons” from his car in Gurugram’s Sector 17.
“This arrest is totally illegal and wrong. Sudarshan News stands by Mukesh Kumar ji and considers the arrest an attack on media freedom,” the channel tweeted.
Sudarshan News’ editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke, in a long post on social media, raised questions about Mr Kumar’s arrest.
“Why didn’t the police arrest Mukesh Kumar in uniform? Is the Haryana government bowing down to the ego of an officer? Where are the organisations of journalists and human rights?” Mr Chavhanke wrote on Twitter, creating a social media firestorm.
He even warned the Gurugram Police that he would make a “big announcement” on Saturday if they did not release Mr Kumar.
“Let us see which Hindu men are with us,” he wrote on Twitter.
मुकेश कुमार को छोड़ा नहीं गया तो कल बड़ी घोषणा करेंगे। देखते है कौन- कौन मर्द हिंदू साथ है।
नपुंसक तो जान कर भी मौन हैं।
किसी अधिकारी की इतनी हिंम्मत और सभी असहाय…?
हम तो असहाय नहीं है… #ReleaseMukeshKunar
— Suresh Chavhanke “Sudarshan News” (@SureshChavhanke) August 11, 2023
Then an hour later, he claimed that Mr Kumar has been released, however, there has been no official statement from the Gurugram Police.
The suspension of mobile internet and SMS services in Nuh has been extended until Sunday, as conditions in the district are still tense. So far, 393 people have been arrested and 118 have been taken into preventive detention in connection with the violence.
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