Human Rights Watch, an international NGO that conducts research and advocacy into human rights, condemned the "baseless criminal charges" against senior journalists in India.
It said: "The Indian authorities should drop the charges, which include sedition, promoting communal disharmony, and making statements prejudicial to national integration."
A release by the NGO detailed how the Uttar Pradesh police had filed an FIR against the Wire's Siddharth Varadarajan for tweeting an article in the Wire which stated that a farmer killed during the Republic Day rally had died in police firing, contrary to the police's claims that he died in an accident. The statement explained how six journalists, along with Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, were named in FIRs filed in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh for "misreporting" on the rally on January 26.
Human Rights Watch also condemned the detention of journalists Dharmender Singh and Mandeep Punia by the Delhi police, and the shutdown of mobile internet services at protest sites bordering Delhi.
It quoted its South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly as saying: "The Indian authorities’ response to protests has focused on discrediting peaceful protesters, harassing critics of the government, and prosecuting those reporting on the events. The government instead should conduct a transparent and impartial investigation into the January 26 violence in Delhi."