Jharkhand Police Strikes UAPA on Independent Journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh
Rupesh Kumar Singh. Image Source: Gaon Savera.con
Jharkhand police, on July 17, arrested Jharkhand-based independent journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh and charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as well as the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a report by The Wire said. According to Singh’s wife, Ipsa Shatakshi, said that “The police force knocked on our door at 5:25 in the morning and served us a search warrant. We cooperated with them.”
Singh (37) has been working as an independent journalist since 2012, writing on Adivasi issues on various media platforms. During his college days in Bhagalpur, he was associated with the student wing of the CPI (Leninist). In 2014, he married Shatakshi and moved to Ramgarh.
Singh was arrested by Gaya Police in June 2019 for alleged connections with Maoists. Police had claimed that gelatin sticks and other explosive materials were recovered from his car. At that time, too, he was charged under various sections of the IPC as well as the UAPA. Both Singh and Shatakshi claimed that the police’s account was false and that they had planted explosive materials in his car to frame him.
Since the Gaya Police failed to file a charge sheet in the case against him, he was granted bail in December 2019. The case had been at a stand-still since.
This time, a 10-member search team of the police headed by deputy superintendent of police (HQ) Chandan Kumar Vats arrived at Singh’s house. “The two lady police searched our kitchen. They checked if there were suspicious things in the rice, flour etc.,” Shatakshi said.
“Police searched for nine hours but didn’t disclose that they had an arrest warrant, too. Only five minutes before the arrest, the police showed us the warrant,” she claimed.
Interestingly, the FIR filed (no 67/21) on Singh is the same that under which Prashanth Bose (alias Kishan Da), one of the top leaders of the CPI (Maoists); his wife, Sheela Marandi; Gurucharan Bodra; Raju Tudu (alias Nikhil, Bapu); Krishna Bahangda (alias Heven); and Birendra Hansda (alias Jitendra) were arrested in November, 2021.
Bose is known to be a top Maoist leader and had been operating from the Saranda forests in Jharkhand. He was named as an accused in the murder of MP Sunil Mahto and Ramesh Singh Munda around 15 years ago. All sections, including those of the UAPA, which have been invoked against Singh are similar to those slapped on Bose and the other accused, The Wire reported.
The Pegasus Project, a global investigation into Israeli spyware Pegasus, had found three mobile numbers belonging to Singh on the list of potential targets for surveillance. At the time, Singh told The Wire that he suspected his phones were being tapped as he observed suspicious disturbances when talking to anybody.
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