Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the abusive and threatening telephone calls made to a senior journalist of The Hindu by persons claiming association with the RSS and the VHP.
“I have directed the Home Secretary to conduct a probe through the Delhi Police. The Home Secretary has already asked the Delhi Police to initiate the probe,” Mr Shinde said, adding that in a democracy people should have the perseverance to bear criticism.
The directive came after Congress general secretary Ajay Maken wrote to Mr. Shinde, seeking action in the case. He attached a copy of the police complaint filed by Vidya Subrahmaniam, Associate Editor, The Hindu, on October 15 at the Parliament Street police station. Enclosed with the complaint was a set of phone numbers from which the calls were made. In his letter, Mr. Maken wrote: “The Congress Party is committed to freedom of the Press, dominance of truth in public discourse and non-violence. Bringing the episode to a speedy and logical conclusion will only be in line with our professed principles.”
Responding to questions on the complaint filed by Ms. Subrahmaniam, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) S.B.S Tyagi told The Hindu that the complaints were in violation of Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code and hence non-cognizable in nature. Soon after receiving the complaint, he had sought the call details and forwarded the complaint to his counterparts in Tamil Nadu, from where the calls were made. “We are seeking their assistance and pursuing the case ourselves as well,” he said.
Ms Subrahmaniam lodged the complaint on October 15 against unidentified persons who made a series of threatening calls to her after a translation of her article, “The forgotten promise of 1949,” which was first published in The Hindu on October 8, appeared in the Tamil edition of the newspaper on October 15. In the first two days — October 15 and 16 — she received close to 250 such calls.
Ms. Subrahmaniam made it clear that she had not approached any political party with her complaint, and that her name was being unnecessarily dragged into a political match between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Congress. She also said that though she had filed her complaint on October 15, no one from either Delhi Police or Tamil Nadu Police had contacted her since, and that she continued receiving calls even a week after lodging the complaint.