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article imageGujarat Police hounds journalist who exposed mass graves in 2005

By Subir Ghosh     Jan 1, 2011 in World
New Delhi - It is becoming increasingly a trend in India -- the act of rightwing Hindu ultranationalists targeting journalists who expose their misdeeds.
The journalist who reported about a mass grave in Panderwada village in Panchmahal district of Gujarat is now being hounded by the state police. A six-member police team landed up in Bhopal on Wednesday to serve summons to Rahul Singh in connection with the exhumation case related to the digging up of 21 bodies of riot victims in 2005. The police have booked five persons including Rais Khan, a former member of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) which has been fighting cases of Muslim victims of 2002 Gujarat riots.
Since Singh, now a senior correspondent with Headlines Today, is now in Delhi, his father, NK Singh, resident editor of the Bhopal edition of Hindustan Times, refused to receive the summons on behalf of his son. "They did not believe that Rahul was not in the house and asked me to bring him out," NK Singh told news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). "When they realised he was not here they asked me to accept summons, but I refused. Then they asked me to give a statement in the case, which also I refused. Finally, they said they will paste the summons on the wall. I said they can do it."
Rahul, who was with the Sahara Samay news channel when he broke the story, told IANS from Delhi: "The police now say that the digging of bodies had been done in a notified area and permission was not taken from them. But the families whose loved ones were missing after the Gujarat riots had no idea that the area was a notified one. We were only doing our duty. The families whose members were missing contacted us and we found that at least 21 dead bodies were piled upon each other. There were pieces of clothes on them, which showed the bodies had been dumped."
In December 2005, Rahul was tipped off about the mass grave by local human rights activists. The grave had the remains of 21 victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Some two weeks later, Rahul reported the news about the exhumation of human remains by the victims' family members through Sahara.
The news created a stir, with the state police claiming that the bodies were of riot victims who had been accounted for. The mass grave, critics alleged, exposed the nexus between the state administration led by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the police and other rioting Hindu political groups who were said to have been behind the wanton killing of Muslims during the riots.
The hounding of Rahul Singh comes on the heels of criminal proceedings being initiated against KK Shahina, a reporter with the weekly news magazine Tehelka, after she exposed the dubious prosecution of a prominent Islamic cleric and political figure on terrorism charges in Karnataka state, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
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