Punjab Police parties raid newspaper office

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Mohali, Mar 7 (UNI) Punjab Police parties from Ludhiana and Jalandhar today raided the office of 'Rozana Spokesman', a Punjabi daily published from here.

A raid on the newspaper's office by policemen from Ludhiana was followed by the Jalandhar police.

The first raid was conducted following the registeration of a case under section 255-A of the IPC at Basti Jodewal police station in Ludhiana after the publication of an allegedly derogatory article on February 24 against a particular community. The case was registered on the complaint of Guru Ravi Dass Mission against the daily's Editor-in-chief Joginder Singh and Harbhajan Singh, who had written the article.

The police party from Ludhiana which remained at the newspapers office for about two hours noted the statement of the daily's Managing Director Jagjit Kaur. She told them that Mr Joginder Singh was admitted at the Apollo Hospital, New Delhi following cardiac problem while the whereabouts of Harbhajan Singh, a contributor to the paper were not known.

The Guru Ravi Dass Mission had demanded the arrest of the newspaper Editor and the writer of the article. A similar case was also registered at Jalandhar and Kapurthala.

No sooner had the police party from Ludhiana left, another police party from Jalandhar entered the daily's office and stated that they had arrest warrants against Joginder Singh and Harbhajan Singh.

Mrs Jagjit Kaur when contacted said that the daily had published an apology to the article on February 27. '' We have nothing against anyone and respect Bhagat Ravi Dass,'' she said.

She alleged that the raids were conducted at the behest of the Punjab government and was an infrigement on the freedom of the press.

''The government was bent upon closing down the daily,'' she alleged.

UNI HS YA HT1705

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