Marvi Sirmed, a journalist and correspondent for the Daily Times, had his home ransacked while his family was on holiday. Two laptops, a smartphone and passports were taken among other travel documents. This was seen as part of a broader effort to intimidate journalists as well as influence reporting in the lead-up to the 2018 General Election.
On June 19, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma filed a police complaint against journalist Rana Ayyub over a tweet that Sharma claimed to be ‘defamatory, hate-filled and derogatory’. Ayyub, the author of Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, a book about the 2002 Gujarat riots, that implicates BJP top leaders for the riots, had tweeted a comment on the Presidential candidate by an alliance backed by BJP. The complaint stated that Ayyub’s tweet reflected ‘extremely casteist, hateful and disrespectful mindset’ against the scheduled castes or dalits, which the candidate represents. The complaint asks for Ayyub to be booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, which appears to be a disproportionate use of law.
On June 9, journalist Basit Malik was investigating the alleged demolition of a mosque in Sonia Vihar, Delhi when a mob he was speaking to became violent and assaulted him for one-and-hour hour after learning that he had a Muslim name. Malik recalled the attack in a piece on The Caravan: “While I was speaking, the mob kept jostling me around, and several people continued to hit me. I was unable to ascertain the identity of the attackers, and kept reiterating that I was a journalist. Then, the mob dragged me from the lawn and made me stand with my back to a wall that appeared to be a part of the haveli. The men surrounded me, and pointed their phones at me, recording videos… The mob kicked me, punched me, and slapped me. They continued to take videos of this assault.”