There was no progress made in reporter Naveen Soorinje’s case at Monday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.
A resolution to drop the criminal charges against Soorinje of Kasturi Newz24 was passed by the Cabinet during its last meeting on January 31. But the resolution has not yet been signed by Mr. Shettar as a result of which Soorinje continues to be in jail.
While Mr. Shettar once again told journalists that he would sign the Cabinet resolution and facilitate Soorinje’s release, he did not commit to a deadline.
Meanwhile, a senior Minister told reporters after Monday’s Cabinet meeting that there is “pressure” from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the case.
“There is a demand from them [RSS] that the State should also withdraw cases against the other accused in the case,” the Minister said on the condition of anonymity.
Speaking from Mangalore, MLA J. Krishna Palemar said, “There are other innocents in the case. We cannot allow Soorinje’s release unless they too are released.”
Soorinje has been in jail since November 7, 2012 on the charge of colluding with the Hindu Jagaran Vedike group that attacked boys and girls celebrating a birthday at a homestay in Mangalore on July 28, 2012.
Journalists, who are fighting for Soorinje’s release, have said that Soorinje was a victim of political machinations. It is the official position of the Karnataka Union of Working Journalists as well as the Editors’ Guild of India that Soorinje should have been made a witness in the case as it was footage shot by his cameraman that helped the police identify and arrest the attackers.
Meanwhile, a petition on change.org issued over the weekend calling on people to phone the Chief Minister’s office and demand Soorinje’s release received responses from across the country.
Speaking on behalf of the online petition platform, Tamseel Hussain told The Hindu that dozens of people from across the country had responded to the petition and called Mr. Shettar’s office.
An earlier petition on the same website asking people to support the campaign to release Soorinje had received over 5,000 signatures from people across India and abroad.