Police issues notice to journalists; Opposition slams govt

This is the beginning of Emergency, claimed NCP.

The Congress and the NCP on Saturday slammed the Maharashtra government over a notice issued by Mumbai police to a journalist as part of an investigation. This was the beginning of “Emergency”, the opposition parties said. The police clarified later in the evening that the journalist had been asked to meet the police officers only as a witness in a case, and not an accused. The journalist, who works with a Marathi newspaper, received a notice from the Cyber Police Cell some days ago, saying that his presence was required to ascertain some facts in connection with the investigation of a criminal case. Nidhi Kamdar, officer-on-special duty with the Chief Minister’s Office, had lodged a complaint that somebody had created a fake profile in her name and posted messages on social media.

As the news went viral, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde claimed the government is strangulating the media to divert attention from issues like inflation, unemployment and corruption of ministers. “Summoning journalists in the name of investigation and threatening them is the start of another Emergency,” the NCP leader said. If the government cannot digest criticism, it should forgo power, he said.

City Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said the BJP government only targets those journalists who question inflation, corruption, false promise of loan waiver for farmers and unemployment. “Anybody who speaks against the government is subjected to intense scrutiny,” Nirupam said. The former MP threatened an agitation if the government did not stop summoning journalists in the name of inquiry.
Government spokesperson and the chief of Directorate General of Information and Public Relations Brijesh Singh said, “We have verified facts with the Mumbai police….this notice has not been issued in his capacity as a journalist. “He has been summoned not as an accused, but as a witness in a criminal investigation,” Singh said. Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Saxena said that some “misinformation” was being circulated that police had issued notices to 27 journalists. “No such notices have been issued by Cyber Police”, he said.

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