Kerala AIKS Holds Protests, Rallies in Solidarity with NewsClick
Kerala Karshaka Sangham state president M Vijayakumar and other office-bearers march towards the Kerala Raj Bhavan.
The Kerala Karshaka Sangham (KKS), the state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), held protest marches and demonstrations across the state on Thursday as part of the nationwide agitation condemning the Centre’s “vindictive action” against NewsClick.
The association condemned the use of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakraborty.
Inaugurating the Raj Bhavan march in Thiruvananthapuram, KKS state president M Vijaya Kumar accused the BJP of pursuing undemocratic practices against the media outlet.
“The Special Cell of the Delhi police carried out planned raids on employees and those associated with NewsClick, breaking all laws and seized their electronic gadgets without even providing seizure memos to many. The BJP government is known for threatening the media. But this is unprecedented in independent India,” he said.
The Special Cell had conducted coordinated raids on journalists, contributors and part-time employees of NewsClick on October 3.
Kerala Karshaka Sangham state general secretary Valsan Panoli lead the solidarity march in Kannur.
“NewsClick widely reported the historic farmer struggle opposing the three farm laws. The FIR has stated that the organisation disrupted essential services. The government has insulted the farmer struggle and targeted the organisation for genuinely reporting on it,” Kumar said.
Similar protest marches and demonstrations were held in all district headquarters. AIKS national vice-president EP Jayarajan inaugurated the protest in front of the Reserve Bank of India office in Kochi.
The AIKS has accused the BJP government of capturing a large section of the mainstream media through backdoor channels and by utilising corporate entities.
“They create fear psychosis and silence media organisations. Recently, NDTV was taken over by the Adani Group. Despite multiple threats and Central agencies unleashing raids, NewsClick continued to function the way it had done earlier by taking a critical position on policies affecting workers and farmers,” Kumar added.
He also criticised the Union government for “stifling” the media’s voice since 2014 through raids by Central agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and Income Tax Department.
“The Wire, BBC, Alt News and several other media organisations have been facing continuous assault in recent years. During the Emergency, there was total censorship. Now, it is targeted censorship on media organisations criticising the government’s wrong policies,” Kumar added.
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