Ladakh journalist arrested for Facebook post critical of BJP MP

The comment was made by a member of a Facebook group run by Tsewang Rigzin, a correspondent for the State Times.

ByNL Team
Ladakh journalist arrested for Facebook post critical of BJP MP
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Tsewang Rigzin, the Leh correspondent for the State Times, a daily published from Jammu, was arrested on September 5 on the basis of a complaint by BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the news website Wire reported. He was released on bail the same day.

Rigzin is the admin of a Facebook group, “Ladakh in the Media”. The group has about 34,000 members, one of whom posted a comment critical of the MP. The MP took offence to the comment and lodged a complaint, on the basis of which the police arrested Rigzin.

Two days earlier, Rigzin had raised questions about a resolution passed by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, a local municipal body dominated by the BJP. “The general council of LAHDC, which now comprises BJP members, passed a resolution on September 3 saying that they demand either a Sixth Schedule, or a domicile law, or implementation of Article 371 of the Constitution to protect the rights of the local people. To that, I, as a former member of the LAHDC, objected because of the multiple options it had given to the Centre,” the journalist told the Wire.

In the run-up to the 2019 general election, Rigzin had helped file an FIR against BJP leader Vikram Singh Randhawa for allegedly bribing journalists. “I was instrumental in filing that FIR,” the journalist told the Wire. “So, I was a marked man.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Journalists Union has issued a statement condemning Rigzin’s arrest. Citing a 2016 Delhi High Court ruling stating that the administrator of a social media group cannot be held liable for posts by members, the union demanded the case against Rigzin be dropped unconditionally.

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