The week gone by saw the UP Police filing cases against journalists, opposition leaders, celebrities and Twitter for their “misleading tweets”. Accused of attempting to “destroy communal harmony”, over the assault on an elderly Muslim man in Loni, Ghaziabad, the cases have raised hackles on the misuse of the government’s powers to arbitrate over what is Kosher and what is ‘fake’ in the public space.

The filing of cases, including against the co-founder of grantee Alt News, has been perceived to be “selective”, with only a chosen few who retweeted the alleged offending post, being targeted by the UP Police. This comes even as the spat between the Indian government and Twitter has escalated over the platform’s ‘failure’ to adhere to the government’s new IT Rules promulgated earlier this year, with the platform losing its ‘safe harbour’ status. So also, the UN Special Rapporteurs wrote to India on June 11, as The News Minute reports, to express “serious concern” that the new Rules may result in the “infringement of a wide range of human rights.”

Mojo Story debates the issues involved in-depth and examines if the government’s actions in filing the cases are a threat to freedom of speech, as the Ghaziabad police’s actions imply that any account or post which is not in conformity with the police version may lead to being termed “fake news” and invite legal action.

The Wire argues that the cases filed in the Loni incident by the UP Police are not a coincidence. The UP Police has been zealous in filing cases against journalists at the slightest hint of criticism in social media. A state of affairs that is a direct assault on media freedoms in the state.

Following their release after a year’s incarceration in Tihar Jail, Article 14 spoke to student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, on their life in jail, the urgent need for prison reforms and their first hours of freedom.

The Indian Medical Association has protested the recent and frequent incidents of attacks against doctors and called for a strong central law to protect doctors against violence. The Bastion talks to four young doctors to understand the trauma of being assaulted by family members of the very patients whose lives they are trying to save.

And, Down To Earth talks to Mycologists — medical professionals who specialise in the study of fungal diseases in humans and animals – on the over 30,000 cases of Mucormycosis registered in India and debunks the many myths surrounding the affliction.

For these and more stories from our grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Ghaziabad Assault Case | For Video on Muslim Man's Hate Crime Allegation Twitter Faces Police Case

Twitter, along with several journalists and Opposition leaders, were named in an FIR filed by the UP Police over tweets sharing a video of an assault on an elderly Muslim man that took place in Loni, Ghaziabad on June 5. The police claim that the incident was not communal in nature even as the victim claims otherwise. This also comes at a time when Twitter has lost its ‘safe harbour’ status over non-compliance with IT rules. Mojo Story discusses the issues involved with a cross-section of journalists, lawyers and analysts.

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Backstory | The Information War in India’s Heartland: Yogi’s Angst Impacts Media Freedoms

The UP Police have in recent years filed a spate of cases against journalists and institutions for critical comments on social media. The Wire makes a detailed and in-depth analysis of the threats to media freedom in UP, and concludes that if the state of affairs continues - criminalising the professional calls made by journalists - it will be “destructive of freedom of speech”.

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"How Natasha, Devangana, Asif Survived A Year In Tihar Jail

Article 14 speaks to student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, who walked out of Tihar jail last week after a year, consequent to a Delhi court ordering their release following their incarceration in the North East Delhi riots case. The trio talk about their experiences of being in Jail - taking care of sick fellow prisoners, running the library in the jail, petitioning the High Court on jail reforms and the joy of being back home.

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Why You Should Not Hit a Doctor

In the light of rising incidents of medical professionals being attacked by the families of patients when things go wrong, The Bastion speaks to young doctors to understand the impact of such incidents on their psyche and their work. The doctors say if the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship is not maintained, the increasing violence against the medical staff could adversely affect the healthcare response system, with doctors resorting to ‘defensive medicine’.

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COVID-19: Did India read mucormycosis right?

During the current pandemic, India has reported more than 30,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths by mucormycosis so far. A figure which is dramatically up from the 100 or so cases reported annually before Covid-19. The surge has been attributed to the rampant diabetes cases in India and the emergence of the Delta variant. Down To Earth speaks to mycologists who warn against jumping to reflexive conclusions and unravel the many myths around this rare fungal infection.

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More from the grantees
Pride Month: The LGBTQIA+ Community and Sikkim
With Pride Month being observed around the world, Sikkim Chronicle speaks to members of Rainbow Hills Welfare Association (RHWA), an organisation that has been working against the social stigmatisation and exclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in Sikkim.
Child Marriages During the Pandemic
The India Forum points out that loss of livelihoods under the pandemic and worsening poverty may well be leading to a marked increase in child marriages in India, eroding the gains in reducing the practice in the recent decades.
This Kerala doctor used dance to get tribal people tested for coronavirus
The News Minute brings the heart-warming story of a medical professional who used music and dance to inspire the people in the Kathirambathi hamlet in Kerala's Attappadi to get tested for coronavirus.
रोहिंग्या रिफ्यूजी : हम भी भारत के लिए अपना योगदान देना चाहते हैं
Asiaville reports from Kalindi Kunj in Delhi, where a Rohingya refugee camp was engulfed in fire on the night of June 12. The story narrates the struggles of these families who have lost their critical identity-documents and are unsure of how to start their lives again.
Of Gupkar, GoI, Great Game: In Conversation With Ajai Sahni
As the Centre invites Kashmiri leaders for an all-party meeting on June 24th, amidst reports of restoring statehood to Kashmir, Kashmir Observer dwells on the implications and the anxieties.
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Janjwar reports from a government hospital at Madanpur village, one of the largest villages in Deoria district of UP, which stands in a dilapidated condition and has been transformed into a stable for buffaloes.
मिलिए पहली बार प्रधान बनी सुनीता से जो करना चाहती हैं महिलाओं का विकास | KhabarLahariya
Khabar Lahariya speaks to Sunita, a resident of Vijayanpur Sajhara village in Ayodhya district of UP, who has recently been elected as the first woman sarpanch after winning a landslide victory in the local elections. She talks about her dreams and aspirations for her village.
The Rising Cases Of Sexual Harassment Of COVID-19 Victims In Hospital Premises
Feminism in India focuses on the rise in instances of sexual harassment of women Covid-19 patients in hospital premises and points out that given the ill-health of these victims, most women decide not to pursue legal action against the perpetrators.

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