I am informed that some alleged BJP workers today ( 5.1.2014 ) held a demonstration in front of the office of 'The Indian Express' newspaper on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi and burnt the effigy of Mr. Pravin Swamy, the National Editor ( Security ) and shouted offensive slogans.
Mr. Swamy and his team had done investigation and then published a story in their newspaper stating that the boat alleged by the Government of India to be from Pakistan carrying bombs for perpetrating terrorist acts in India, which was blown up by the Indian Coast Guards, did not seem to be involved in terrorist acts at all but possibly in smuggling. There seemed to be no proof of any terrorist act or objective, and a detailed enquiry was necessary in this connection, Mr. Swamy added.
I strongly condemn this unwarranted and indefensible act of the BJP workers in trying to intimidate, threaten and browbeat the media. Freedom of the media is a guaranteed fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, and such acts are outrageous, deplorable and shameful, and totally unacceptable in a democracy.
The Indian Express or any other mediahouse has full freedom under our Constitution to publish such stories, and if anyone had a grievance against it he could have got published a contradiction or their own version, but such intimidatory tactics are wholly out of place in a free country and under the Constitution our Founding Fathers gave us.
I call upon the BJP leadership to condemn the incident unequivocally and firmly