The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has demanded that the police relook at the charges filed against Kasturi Newz24 reporter Naveen Soorinje and withdraw non-bailable Sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Cr.PC slapped on him.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Sunday, KPCC president G. Parameshwara, accompanied by Union Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan, Union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, said that slapping of charges such as criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and using criminal force on women with the intention of outraging their modesty, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 on the journalist was only an attempt to muzzle the press.

‘No respect for law’

Dr. Parameshwara said the entire episode of Mr. Soorinje’s arrest goes to prove that the State government had no respect for law, and the police were being vengeful.

“Mr. Soorinje has not got justice… If the journalist had committed any crime, the police should have booked cases related to those violations. Unrelated Sections should not have been foisted on him.”

Support for moratorium

To a question, Dr. Parameshwara said the Congress supports the demand of the people of the Hyderabad Karnataka region to impose a moratorium on all recruitments in government departments until rules and regulations were framed for implementing the provisions under the Article 371 (J) of the Constitution and fix the quantum of reservation in employment opportunities for the people of the region.

The President has given his assent to amendment to the Article 371 (J) of the Constitution, which accords special status to the region.

He said that the State government should immediately initiate measures to frame the rules and regulations.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government would do a great injustice to the people of the region if it went ahead with recruitment to nearly 16,000 posts and deprive people of the Hyderabad Karnataka region their due share in government jobs.

“The very purpose of bringing in amendment to the Article 371 will be defeated if the government does not provide reservation in jobs to the people of the region,” he said.

MSP for red gram

The Congress leaders also supported the demand for fixing higher minimum support price (MSP) for red gram. They said the MSP of Rs. 4,000 for a quintal announced by the State government was insufficient.

Farmers’ organisations in the region are demanding Rs. 5,000 as MSP for a quintal of red gram.

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