“I have left my home of decades with a heavy heart”, OpIndia editor in chief Nupur J Sharma took to Twitter on Thursday, September 9 to announce that she was forced to leave her home and her loved ones back in Kolkata, West Bengal. She had to flee overnight because of the constant threats she had been receiving from the Mamata Banerjee government in the state.
My statement on some recent developments.— Nupur J Sharma (@UnSubtleDesi) September 9, 2021
After unrelenting persecution and threats, for the safety of my family, I have left my home of decades with a heavy heart. pic.twitter.com/XEO4aUXQIr
The OpIndia editor-in-chief wrote how the vindictive Mamata Banerjee government in the state had made it almost impossible for her to follow her instincts and do her job truthfully. “For the safety of my family and to continue to uphold Dharma as OpIndia has been doing since inception, me leaving my home of decades became a necessity. I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the integrity of our reportage is not compromised”, wrote Nupur Sharma saddened yet resolute.
The note posted by the OpIndia editor-in-chief garnered overwhelming support from hordes of supporters. Veteran journalist Kanchan Gupta wrote: “And we are worried about people fleeing terror in #Afghanistan… the under-reported exodus from #WestBengal is a blot on media in #India.
More power to you & your team Nupur.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) September 9, 2021
Stay safe . https://t.co/KI81nFjL38
“If you want to know what a fascist regime looks like – here is an example”, tweeted BJP leader Amit Malviya.
If you want to know what a fascist regime looks like – here is an example. https://t.co/aHWPIsPyHI— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 9, 2021
Meanwhile, the National General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, BL Santosh said “every free, democratic society needs fearless fighters like you” while wishing her well.
Every single nation loving person stands by you & your family. Truth alone prevails. A free , democratic society needs fearless fighters like you & your team. Good luck ma’am . https://t.co/rZR3cUplQe— B L Santhosh (@blsanthosh) September 9, 2021
“The hounding of @UnSubtleDesi & her husband by the West Bengal govt; the filing of multiple FIRs; the mental agony they are having to withstand through harrowing visits to the police station – only exposes the DESPERATION to silence a FEARLESS voice. I stand with Nupur. ALWAYS”, were some encouraging words from scientist Anand Ranganathan.
“This is what Fascism is – incessant hounding of a journalist until she is forced to leave her home. I hope your move to Delhi stops them from hounding your family, esp your father, but I doubt it. They fear you, Nupur. We stand with you, always. ALWAYS”, wrote Anand Ranganathan in his subsequent Tweet.
This is what Fascism is – incessant hounding of a journalist until she is forced to leave her home. I hope your move to Delhi stops them from hounding your family, esp your father, but I doubt it. They fear you, Nupur.— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 9, 2021
We stand with you, always. ALWAYS. https://t.co/YRqLZMsJpH
Moreover, another Twitter user boosted OpIndia’s editor-in-chief’s morale by calling her “a rare type, relentless and direct”.
This is horrible. Stay safe. You’re a rare type, relentless and direct. The future awaits!— Vin Nair (@vinsinners) September 9, 2021
Some others slammed the tyrannical Mamata regime.
This is heartbreaking to read. She must be taken to task, and that’s why it was so important to win that election. Take care @UnSubtleDesi. 🤗 Be safe. We are all with you.— Charu Pragya🇮🇳 (@CharuPragya) September 10, 2021
Twitter users also pointed out the deafening silence of ‘large media houses’ in failing to bring the persecution of a fellow journalist by state machinery to light.
Sad though it is to learn this move, it amounts to a damnation of the reign of intimidation in Bengal today and the silence of big-name media on the issue.— dv (@strawsInTheWind) September 10, 2021
Vindictive Mamata Banerjee government files 4th FIR against OpIndia, gets stayed by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court had on September 3 stayed the 4th FIR filed by the Bengal Government against OpIndia.
The petition will now be heard in November according to the Apex Court, and no investigation in the matter can be done in the meantime. The 4th FIR filed in West Bengal was filed in connection to OpIndia’s coverage of the Telinipara riots in Bengal in 2020.
Nupur J Sharma, the editor-in-chief of OpIndia and Rahul Roushan, the CEO were summoned for interrogation by the CID on a Friday earlier this month. The duo had responded requesting for the interrogation to be done via video-conferencing and had also extended their full cooperation to the investigation.
Represented by senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani and Ravi Sharma, the duo had approached the Supreme Court seeking relief.
The petition had stated that the 4th FIR is the latest in a series of FIRs that were field maliciously against OpIndia. The first 3 FIRs were stayed by the Supreme Court in 2020.
Previous FIRs in 2020 that was stayed by the Supreme Court
In June 2020, the Supreme Court of India stayed three FIRs filed by the West Bengal government against four persons, three of them associated with OpIndia for articles published over the portal. The fourth individual named in the FIR is Vaibhav Sharma, husband of Nupur J Sharma, not associated with OpIndia. Apart from staying the FIRs, the bench also issued a notice to the West Bengal government.
The FIRs were filed in relation to three different news articles related to West Bengal on the portal. These reports were published by other media outlets also, and some of the OpIndia reports were actually based on other media reports, but the Mamata Banerjee govt had chosen to target only OpIndia for the reports. You can read in detail about it here.