Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir on Wednesday cited freedom of speech while ruling out curbs on anyone in a free country like India. He was responding to Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien’s statement in Rajya Sabha that Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows certain Twitter trolls, who write “venomous, misogynist” stuff besides issuing “murderous threats”. “Is the government sending an advisory to such high authorities not to follow such trolls who are speaking rape and misogynist threats under the guise of anonymity?” “There is no provision as per our Constitution to impose any curbs on anyone,” Ahir responded.
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The minister separately dismissed suggestions that attacks on journalists were on the rise. He informed the House that 114 attacks on journalists were reported in 2014. Ahir added that 28 cases were registered in this regard in 2015.
Ahir said that data on attacks on journalists was being maintained since 2014. He added that state governments deal with such cases while the Press Council of India has powers to look into them. “In 2014, there were 63 cases of attacks on journalists in Uttar Pradesh. This year, there is only one such case registered. Whether all cases are registered, it does not look like. We have not received any report of attack on journalists from West Bengal. Except for two states, UP and West Bengal, all other states are informing us.’’