Congress Govt jails journalist for political satire, Rahul Gandhi maintains his silence

Chhattisgarh police arrested journalist Nilesh Sharma who runs a hugely popular digital satire show ‘Ghurwa ke Mati’.

Probably the sermons of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi about free speech did not reach the Congress government in Chhattisgarh. Similarly, cries of a journalist in Chhattisgarh to save his Freedom of Speech did not reach Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.

The Congress government of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel arrested a Raipur-based journalist Nilesh Sharma reportedly because his popular satire show ‘Ghurwa ke Mati’ hurt the image of Congress leaders in the state.

Sharma runs news portal and runs a hugely popular satire show ‘Ghurwa ke Mati’ on digital platforms. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine India Writers.

In his satire show, Congress leaders of the state alleged, Sharma takes potshots at Congress leaders of the state and ends up hurting their image.

One Congress leader Khilawan Nishad lodged a complaint with the cyber cell of the Chhattisgarh police and acting promptly on the complaint, police arrested Sharma late Wednesday (March 2) night.

Nishad, in his complaint, accused Sharma of being right-wing and using language that hurt the image of Congress leaders.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in power in the state from 2003-18, Sharma was running a political satire show Chokhelal’ where he regularly used to take potshots at Chattisgarh BJP leaders, including then Chief Minister Raman Singh.

“We have registered an FIR as Sharma was writing baseless articles spreading misinformation and rumours,” The Indian Express quoted a senior police officer. The journalists in Raipur protested against the intimidating tactics of the state government.

The Police has lodged an FIR against Sharma under Section 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of the peace), section 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief, 505 (1) (b) with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity) and section 505 (2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between the classes) of the Indian Penal Code.

Catering to the optics, the Congress had promised to bring a law in 2018 to protect journalists against harassment. In order to send a message, the Bhupesh Baghel government had also shared a draft bill last year.

On every available opportunity, the Nehru family scion Rahul Gandhi preaches about the Freedom of Expression and how he would protect the press’ right to report.

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