Withdraw sedition, conspiracy charges against scribes: SUCI

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Ahmedabad, June 3 (UNI) Gujarat State Organising Committee of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) today demanded immediate withdrawal of sedition and conspiracy charges, levelled against the resident editor and reporter of Ahmedabad edition of Times of India, by city police commissioner O P Mathur.

SUCI Secretary D N Rath, in a memorandum to state Governor Naval Kishore Sharma, said police complaints against the resident editor and correspondent of the newspaper were highly deplorable and a direct assault on the freedom of press.

SUCI demanded that the Governor institute a high level judicial enquiry on the charges against Mr Mathur.

''Registering the case against Times of India is a deliberate action of the police to suppress the voice of dissent of the press and create an atmosphere of panic in the state, where violation of human rights and democratic rights has become a regular practice of the police, '' he alleged.

''The Times of India had carried the news exposing the nexus between Mr Mathur and late underworld don Latif, which questions the credibility of the police officer, who is supposed to maintain law and order. The vivid revelation in Times of India has further tarnished the image of the police department in the state in particular and the government in general,'' Mr Rath said.

He said the action by the police department had further shaken the faith of the people in the administration and government.

Rath said apart from the communalisation of the police department in the state, the practice of criminalization of police was appalling, which demanded immediate remedy. The democratisation of police and administration is the only solution to this problem.

''The role of the media as the watchdog of democracy and its role to disseminate right information to the citizen is always indispensable, which the Times of India has been performing. SUCI would like to reiterate that there are innumerable instances of overt and covert threats from the government officials to gag the voice of not only the media, but also people in the state to curtail their democratic rights and freedom of expression and perpetuate a fascist type of rule,'' Mr Rath added.

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