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NewsClick's office in Delhi sealed after police's crackdown

New Delhi: After carrying out several raids at premises linked with NewsClick, the Delhi Police's Special Cell on Tuesday afternoon sealed the office of the online news portal in the national capital.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police launched a crackdown against NewsClick and its journalists earlier this morning in connection with an FIR, registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). 

The raids were carried out at more than 30 locations in connection with a case registered on August 17 under UAPA and other sections of IPC, including 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120 B (criminal conspiracy).

Meanwhile, Union Minister Anurag Thakur, while speaking to reporters in Bhubaneswar said that if action has been taken, then there must have been evidence or complaint.
Flagging concerns over the incident, the Editors Guild of India, in a statement, said it was "deeply concerned" about the raids at the residences of senior journalists early this morning.

"Their laptops, mobile phones and other devices have been seized. Senior journalists have been taken into custody by the Delhi Police, allegedly for 'questioning.' Media reports suggest that the raids have been widespread. The raids are reportedly being conducted in connection with an FIR filed under the draconian UAPA and laws relating to criminal conspiracy and disruption of communal harmony against journalists, including those associated with the website," the Guild said in a statement. 
"EGI is concerned that these raids are yet another attempt to muzzle the media. While we recognise that the law must take its course if actual offences are involved, due process has to be followed. The investigation of specific offences must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation under the shadow of draconian laws, or impinge on the freedom of expression and the raising of dissenting and critical voices," it added. 

"We remind the government of the importance of an independent media in a functioning democracy and urge it to ensure that the fourth pillar is respected, nurtured and protected," it added.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, Prabir Purkayastha and writers Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Urmilesh were brought to the special cell offices in the national capital on Tuesday as part of the investigation. 

Earlier, on August 10, a report in the New York Times had alleged that NewsClick was part of a global network that receives funding from American billionaire Neville Roy Singham.

Singham is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes, and is at the centre of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda.
Singham is also said to have close ties with the Chinese government's media machine.

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