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 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 . “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 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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