More protests against FIR, UIDAI officials under fire


Chandigarh, January 9: Upping the ante against the Centre for the FIR against The Tribune over the Aadhaar data breach story, the media fraternity, farmer unions and political parties today demanded that action should be taken against the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) officials who had failed to protect private data.

Leader of the Opposition Sukhpal Khaira said this act of the Narendra Modi government had reminded him of the Emergency, when every voice of dissent was muzzled.
Calling the registration of a cheating case against The Tribune, its Jalandhar-based reporter Rachna Khaira and others as an attack on the freedom of the Press, members of the Chandigarh Press Club and others from the media fraternity held a protest here.

Kuljit Bains, The Tribune’s Chief of Bureau (Punjab), told the gathering how the investigation was carried out responsibly in public interest by the newspaper. He said there had been several attempts to intimidate The Tribune in the past, but the organisation had a long history of fighting back.

“This (FIR) is an attempt to browbeat a journalist who has done a report in great public interest,” said Chandigarh Press Club president Jaswant Rana. Later, a memorandum was submitted to Governor VP Singh Badnore, seeking the withdrawal of the FIR.

In a press release, the Chandigarh unit of the CPI-ML (Liberation) said The Tribune had done a great service to society by telling the common man that the information being given to government agencies was not secure. The Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) said government agencies had failed to protect sensitive information. It said the UIDAI, on the directions of the Union Government, had tried to make The Tribune the scapegoat in this undemocratic action.

Calling it an eye-opening investigative story, The Tribune Trust Employees’ Union, Chandigarh, stated that instead of appreciating a genuine effort by a fearless and truth-seeking journalist, the Centre was trying to suppress such efforts.
After a meeting of its executive committee, The Tribune Employees’ Union announced to hold a protest in Sector 17 here tomorrow.

The Press Clubs of Rupnagar, Phagwara, Goraya and Phillaur, too, condemned the registration of the FIR. Journalists staged a protest at Rajiv Gandhi Chowk in Nangal town. With their mouths “gagged” by black strips of cloth, they demanded immediate cancellation of the criminal case against the journalist.

Journalists of Nakodar, Nurmahal and Bilga staged a dharna in front of the SDM’s office at Nakodar. Later, they submitted a memorandum to SDM Amrit Singh.
Vinod Kohli, president of the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists, gave a call for a united struggle by various media organisations.

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