Protests continue in Andhra Pradesh over editor’s arrest

June 26th, 2008 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 26 (IANS) The editor and two reporters of a Telugu daily, who were arrested by the police for beating an effigy symbolising a Dalit leader, remained in jail even as journalists continued their state-wide protest for the second day Thursday. The bail petition of the journalists will come up for hearing later Thursday in Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act court, Secunderabad.

K. Srinivas, editor of ‘Andhra Jyoti’ and two reporters, Vamshi Krishna and T. Srinivas, were arrested by the police Tuesday night from their office under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They have been charged with beating an effigy symbolising a Dalit leader with footwear during a rally to protest an attack by a Dalit organisation on their office May 24.

A magistrate Tuesday night remanded the editor and the two reporters to judicial custody till July 8.

Manda Krishna Madiga, leader of Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MRPS), which is fighting for classification of SC reservations, had lodged a complaint with the police that his effigy was slapped with footwear by the journalists thus insulting a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste and attracting provisions of the act.

The MRPS activists had attacked the Telugu daily’s office here to protest against publication of an article, which described backward classes leaders as ’saleable commodities’.

Krishna Madiga, who had also lodged a complaint against the newspaper’s managing director V. Radhakrishna, has warned that the failure to take action against him could create law and order problems.

However, Home Minister K. Jana Reddy Thursday said no action would be taken against Radhakrishna as there was no evidence against him. “Hundreds like him give warnings but we will not be cowed down,” he said dismissing the Dalit leader’s warning.

Facing the ire of opposition parties and journalists’ unions, the government said it would not oppose the bail petition in the court.

The protest against the arrests continued for the second consecutive day. Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) took out a massive rally here. The union leaders termed the arrests an attack on freedom of the press and demanded the immediate release of the editor and the two reporters.

The opposition parties and journalists alleged that the government was trying to stifle the voice of the press. ‘Andhra Jyoti’ is known for carrying reports critical of the Congress government.

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